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Noi Tre

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Hapheobia is a rare, specific phobia that involves the fear of being touched or touching other people. This phobia comes from a result of sexual assault, abuse and so on. In my experience, the phobia came from blood dripping down my fingers and gushing into my matted hair; it came from the stench of a rotting corpse and hands that grabbed too firmly on my skin.

Hapheophobia also seemed to be the only phobia my old boss thought was utter bullshit until he patted my arm and received a swift kick in the groin. Head director of the FBI Behavioral Unit finally had a weak spot, what could they do? Arrest me ?

“Katherine.”

Speak of the fucking devil.

I looked up from the plethora of new crime scene photos on my desk to see jack Crawford waltz in like he owned the place...which technically he did, but my boot on his dick should have deterred him from coming into my office anyways. 

Jack said nothing more in response to my state as he wandered in, eyes shifting to the map spread out behind my desk. It had been put together by a theorist I was working with to show the patterns of a small town serial killer but that was nothing new to Jack. He didn’t comment on it but he dawdled and avoided the open chair in front of my desk as if I had all the time in the world to watch him fuck around in my office. His mouth twitched in annoyance as I settled back into my seat and began stacking papers away.

“Good evening Jack, my door was closed for a reason.” I broke the silence and he ignored the jab, pointing to the mess behind me.

“What was this for?”

“‘The guy was trying to throw everyone off by changing up his M.O in the crime locations. Interesting pictures, aren’t they?”

“I’ve seen many things but bloated corpses have remained my least favorite.”

“Lounds got a hold of some of the photos as usual, I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it with her smacking the front page of the fucking internet every case I seem to be on.” I muttered angrily, “It took forever to get a good match and identify the women in the lakes, even more with her bringing my sanity into question every single paragraph.”

“The killer though?”

“They’ll catch him in some run down bar tonight, he’s been switching to more trashy women and where else can he find them but in run down trailer parks?”

“How’d you know about the type of women?”

“Jack, I don’t have time for this, I’ve been working non stop on this case since I came back to work, it’s barely gone to trial. I still need to get more physical evidence even with him about to be in custody-”

Jack held up a hand and silenced me, his larger body seemed to suck all the light from the room. I slouched back in my chair and glared at him, he raised an eyebrow as if to say ‘well’?

“He matched their outfits and body types. Skinny suits, fat suits whatever suits. That’s why we had a hard time pinning him down from witnesses. He was always changing, but he matched the victims ‘perfect man’ or whatever so we searched dating websites and found him. We tracked the demand in skin suits through the state and found his ebay and every other bit of information you could think of.”

“So you weren’t there to view the crime scenes? You weren’t able to look at the bodies while they were fresh?"

“I can only handle the photos of dead people now, Jack...a bit easier on the psyche, especially when you start talking back to them from loneliness.”

“Bodies haven’t grossed you out before, neither did seeing those dead people come back to life.” Jack made a point as he sat back in the seat and stretched his legs out before crossing them, “Nonetheless, I didn’t come here for a social call Katherine.”

“I didn’t think this was a call at all. I didn’t even invite you.” I stopped messing with my desk as Jack sighed, “I don’t go out in the field for a reason Jack, you know this.”

He leaned back, black trousers wrinkling in the creases as he smoothed his hands across his thighs before folding them calmly in his lap. His shirt was wrinkled as well, I would be guessing trouble at home too. I watched him glance at the new name tag on my desk.

“Special Consultant, the new title suits you.”

“The FBI was more than willing to negotiate and accommodate to my demands to not go back out yet still remain employed. So I sit here, talk to criminals and collect photos and remain safe in my little bubble.”

“And this new work satisfies you? You’re happy being a desk jockey?”

Jack’s question made me pause, he caught onto my hesitation and I was grateful he didn’t point it out as I let the reply die in my throat. The answer would have been a lie anyways.

“Look, Katherine, I’m not asking as your former teacher and boss and I’m not asking as a friend,” he leaned forward, “I’m asking as Jack Crawford Head of Behavioral Studies of the FBI, to you, for help wi-”

“No.”

I cut him off smoothly and stood up knowing Jack would follow and mirror my every movement to re-establish the dominance in the room.

This was unfair and strategic, this asshole knew I was working late and he came to annoy me anyways.

“You’re in the field every single crime, I’m not going back out there and I’m sure as hell not looking at a dead body waitingfor it to talk to me.” I explained with as much anger as I could allow in my voice, “I should be fucked up on margaritas every spring break but no, instead I get to look at the kids that got fucked up on spring break with their heads cracked open and wonder why my life got so fucked up.”

I tossed down the couple of photos in my hand for emphasis. The light swish of the photos settling on the desk were the only things heard as Jack placed his hands on his hips.

“Your observational skills are what made you on of our most highly recommended special consultants now these days, the crime scene I’m heading to right now needs your...expertise,to come and take a look at it. You were the only one I could think of when I got the call.”

“And what exactly would you be hoping that I would gain from that dumb idea?” I rolled my eyes and sat back down.

“I have a missing girl on my hands, I need you to help me find her by going through the scene and seeing what you see. I need some confirmation here that she’s alive, after that you can walk away. I won’t give you the details of the case at all, I just need your psychic eyes.”

Ah, there it was.

“I’m not a psychic Jack, nor am I a mentalist. You can have a sharpened sixth sense too if you wanted too.” I shook my head, “You’ll find her dead or alive, it’s not hard to-”

“But not like you.” Jack pointed to me with a finger as his eyes narrowed, “You can’t touch anything so your sense of sight is sharp. I’ve only seen one other person take in as much detail as you.”

“Jack, drop it.”

“I know, I know, Bella tells me the same thing. That there’s no such thing as psychics,” Jack looked down at his hands for a moment as a frown tugged on his lips, “I don’t need you to memorize the crime scene, Katherine. I just need you to confirm the girl is gone and we'll figure out how and why he did it."

“This killer did what exactly?”

“I’m not at liberty to-“ 

“What kind of fucking crime scene would I be walking in on, Jack?”

Jack looked at the board again before meeting my eyes evenly. 

“It’s about your family, Katherine...it’s happened again.”

My body froze in my chair as the cold rush of acid dispersed through my limbs, holding me fast to my chair. I felt lightheaded and buzzed as his words sank in.

My gaze settled on a regretful Jack Crawford.

“Take me to them.”

---

Ten minutes outside of Roanoke Va, was a small park that had the world’s oldest swingset rooted to it in the sand. Jack pulled up and onto the lawn of the park and the gut wrenching feeling in my stomach didn’t go away as I was met with red and blue lights swirling and lighting up the rusted play equipment.

Whatever crime was bringing me back to my childhood park was only knowledge to Jack, unfortunately, as we got out of the car. All happy memories of me running around vanished into thin air as we got out and were met with dozens of civilians and reporters shouting at us as they clambered around in the parking lot trying to set up cameras. It was like looking at my kid self crumble to dust, just yet another thing I loved that had been taken away from me; my childhood.

We ducked under more yellow tape and followed the flashing of lights to the other end of the park where the soccer field dipped down to.

I paused at the top of the hill as I spotted the crime scene. In the middle of the field rested a giant storage container, stark white and bright against the dark green grass. I noticed the tire marks being photographed as I made my way down after Jack, the bright flashes and the cold evening air outside were setting my teeth on edge. 

“Holy crap, look who’s back.”

I turned at the sound of Beverly Katz’ voice and gave a polite smile as she walked up, resting her camera on her shoulder as she looked me up and down carefully.

“You okay to be out in the field? Last I heard, you quit.”

“No one can resist Jack when he demands it. What’s going on? He dragged me here but all I know is that it concerns my family.”

Beverly’s eyes went wide as she turned to the container then back to me. 

“He didn’t tell you?”

“Katz.” Jack warned as he walked back up to us, she gave me a look before walking away and calling for everyone to clear out of the pod, “Katherine, I’m going to need you to focus for me here.”

“I’m a professional Jack.” I assured him as I grabbed booties and gloves and slid them on before we made our way to the side of the scene.

I looked up and Jack watched my face as we stood in the looming darkness of the container to gaze at the art before us. The dark lines and dried liquid on the side seemed to taunt and engulf me, sneering in my face. I was numbly aware of Jack saying my name as studied the large happy face drawn in human blood.

I couldn’t find my voice to answer as Jack hovered around me. The dread that had been twirling in my stomach weighed me down now before it crawled  up my spine like a spider and I swore I could feel the fucking legs on my bones. 

“Three lines, drawn in a lot of blood going clockwise. Whose blood?” I spoke up.

“Katherine-”

“Whose blood, Jack?” I faced him.

Jack only gestured to the open door in the container, allowing me to go in first. 

The inside was lit up like a studio, floodlights highlighted every single detail to the point I couldn’t even see what I was supposed to be looking at. I shielded my eyes and reached over, clicking one light off to send the room into a calmer glow.

I should have left the lights on.

The walls were splattered in blood, dried over and then a new arterial spray was whipped onto it again. I walked closer to the walls and let my fingers hover just above the blood. Jack shifted behind me impatiently as I turned to the bodies...because that’s what they were. Just a crime scene with people I didn’t know and didn’t care about. They died and I was alive so that’s all-

The thudding footsteps were getting louder and louder. He was coming down the hall, he was going to hurt me so bad-

I dug my nails into the palm of my hand until the pain of it faded the memory out and slithered back to the box in the back of my mind. I kept my eyes shut for a moment longer, I could hear Jack voicing his concern yet again as I collected myself.

It was midnight and I was standing in plastic booties that were slick with blood that much I knew. The entire container was covered in a coat of blood about half an inch thick on the floor. I felt the squelch underneath my shoes as I shifted from foot to foot before looking back to the dead beings. 

There were three bodies arranged in the far end of the container covered in each other’s blood.

My own feet seemed to float away from me as I walked closer and stared down at the family, toeing their stiff bodies as the air around us all froze before I took in the surrounding again. This kitchen, it was so familiar , the deja vu was so strong I had to grab onto the counter for balance.

My fingers slid on the wood, the texture between them was slimy and thick. Without looking I snapped the gloves off and tossed them to where Jack was standing. It had been a bloodbath that much was obvious there wasn’t an inch that I could see where there wasn’t some blood, besides, what was the point of gloves it’s not like I could touch the bodies if I wanted to anyways. 

I crouched down between the three, tracing every line on their body with my eyes as their limbs entangled with one another; a picturesque dead, loving family. The girl was still missing but their bodies would tell me.

The boy had died first, coagulation was more prominent around his face where it had been stabbed multiple times. I assumed he had been a cute kid.

I took a deep breath, iron and copper filling my senses.

The mother was second, her eyes had been stabbed through all the way to the ground. The kitchen knife was still lodged through her right eye, grey matter could be seen gripping to her hair as I pushed her head to the side as much as her stiff neck would allow.

I took a deep breath again.

The father lay next to the mother, sunken into the blood beneath him but he was untouched save for a clean bullet wound through-

“Tell him the truth.”

I jerked back onto the bloodied floor, landing on my ass as the blood greedily soaked into the fabric. My hands slashed and slid and my back hit the kitchen drawers. Jack moved to help me  up from the other end of the container, but all I felt was the force of the container shuddering.

“LOOK AT ME.”

I watched the large, dead father rise from where he had been lying. The bullet hole oozed black as he smiled and looked at me, his skin was pale and his veins stood out from from beneath his skin. I couldn’t see the details in his face, I didn’t want to.

Get it the fuck together, come on he's not real!

He was moving, moving, getting closer-

He leaned in and I began to shake as this, this thing moved and shifted the black-red blood beneath us like waves. His breath was hot and wet on my face as he drew closer to my ear, nearly touching me. I began to shake harder against the drawer and I felt the black goo crawl up my own throat and threaten to spill out. He was too fucking close!

“He knows you did it.”

The dead man laughed, the noise sounded exactly like a voice I used to know. I squeezed my eyes shut as the hyperventilations came-

I took a deep-

I couldn’t-couldn’t breath-

Just-

He touched my shoulder and the immediate blossoming of icy pain ripped through and tore my bones and skin. I slammed my shoulder against the cabinet as I felt the black goo ooze out of my mouth and run down my lips.

“FUCK OFF!”

But when I opened my eyes he was gone, dead on the floor. There was no black goo, I rubbed my hand across my face but only smeared the other blood around it. I gagged. 

He hadn’t moved a single inch but the hand on my shoulder was real. I kicked Jack away from me, sending blood up and curving through the air. Tears escaped my eyes as my skin began to throb in pain.

Angrily, I reached back and tore open the sink cabinet I had fallen against to reveal the body of a young girl, untouched save for the red line around her neck.

He had shown me where she was.

“Have fun with the body.” I spat out, pulling myself up before I bolted out of the container and into the night.

I fled back to the car, pushing past the crime team and ignored everyone who reached out and called my name. I ducked into the safety of Jack’s car and slammed the door shut as I threw myself onto the back seat and curled up, clutching the fire that was burning through my shoulder just underneath my skin. His backseat was going to be covered in blood that had been on me. I wiped the blood off my face with the one clean part of my sleeve. 

Good. Fuck him .

My heart wouldn’t stop thumping in my ears or in my throat.

The cupboard was the safest place, it had to be, I knew it was safe.

I shook my head and began counting back again.

 

I remained in the car for thirty minutes waiting for my skin to cool down. I vainly tried to erase the dead man’s voice but it resembled him so much I just couldn’t get it out.

Tap tap.

I looked up from where I was to see Jack looking through the window at me worriedly before he opened the door himself and slid into his seat as I shifted to make room for him. He was careful, keeping a safe distance now, he didn’t even grimace as he sat in the blood I had brought in with me. The air grew warm from his body heat and I shoved myself further against the other door trying to create more distance. He gave a defeated sigh.

“I thought you were doing better with your...physical...problem. Your psychiatrist hasn’t given us any reason why you shouldn’t be out in the field because of it.”

“You dragged me here on purpose, you knew damn well that no matter how much I can control it, I can’t control the pain it gives me. You still fucking brought me, made it seem like it was groundbreaking. God, Jack I never wanted to hear another fucking body talk to me again!”

“I’m sorry Katherine but I needed-”

“It was him.” I cut him off and Jack’s reflection turned to me as he shifted, “Same everything, same from when I was a kid right down to recreating the kitchen in my house.”

“Good, good...I’ll take you back to the office then.”

“Good.”

The drive back was silent, Jack didn’t try to restart a conversation but his eyes would flash to me as the streetlights lit up the world outside for a few seconds before plunging it back into darkness once more.

As soon as Jack parked, I was out and walking away from everything he had just shoved down my throat and burned into my eyes. I could hear him trailing me, content to follow me in silence as I took the stairs instead of the elevator. He followed still.

Whatever weapon he had used had been too large for his liking, he had been more enthusiastic this time around and wanted to feel more careless.

I shook my head of the thought. It wasn’t my problem and they weren’t my case. Jack cleared his throat as I shouldered my way into my office and slammed all of the lights on. I was covered in blood still. I paced my room trying not to shake as Jack remained by the door.

“I need you on this case, Katherine.”

“Why? You can’t always get what you want, Jack. I didn’t, my father made sure of that.” I spit out as I stopped by my scribbled map, “But you’d know all about that right? After all your best friend did almost murder his entire family so maybe you should go and ask him why he’d do it all over again. Ask him why he killed the girl this time around?”

“Excuse me?”

Jack all but roared at me in the quiet of my four walls. I shut my mouth before I turned to face him, he looked murderous at the statement but the guilt that threatened to flood me was erased by more anger. I was aware of his narrowed eyes, it was like he was a disappointed parent except this time I was refusing to accept the murder and not a horrible grade on my math test.

“It’s been fun, Jack, but I have no intention of going out on the field and I have no interest in this case. Nothing can ever bring me back out there to work for you.” I turned away from him on purpose, desperate to be rid of him, “Don’t come to my office ever again.”

Jack seemed to falter in the doorway but he didn’t move, he seemed to be calculating what he was doing. I heard the shift from foot to foot.

“Not even Will Graham? He’s back profiling for me now, you know.”

I turned to Jack who had a smug expression on his face. Will Graham...now that was a name I hadn’t heard in a long time...especially with the way it had ended between us.

“Sorry, not even Will Graham. Have a good night Jack, you look well.”

Jack left at that, I hit the light angrily as I slammed the door shut and sent the room back into blackness. Good, I couldn’t feel the blood in my skin if I didn’t have to look at it anyways. 

 

The next hours that bled into the night I spent the majority looking at photos of a cold case file to ease my mind, it didn’t do much to quiet my thoughts of Jack’s words...especially the name Will Graham. The crime scene in blood, the dead family... the father.

I set the photos down and rubbed my eyes until I could see small white stars in my vision around my bare faced office. No pictures hung up, no awards framed behind me like Crawford’s most likely was. Nothing to show my past or what I wanted my future to be like. Just old papers lined up in bins and photos on my current boards of the cold cases I worked on these days.

 I picked up one photo, looking at the two girls smiling in it; one was dead and the other had been missing for a decade in the wilderness, only a foot from her had been found. The family had insisted on foul play but quite honestly I could care less. The foot had been ripped off too messily to even contribute to the idea of a serial killer or some random maniac in the woods. Parents needed closure, that’s what the books told me anyways.

But at least the girls had a story, had friends who grieved for them and cried at their funeral. I knew I wouldn’t have any, not anymore at least. Back in college maybe, I had one friend and he had the dreamiest blue green eyes but that frienship had ended in heartbreak and tears and more reasons why I should die alone than in the arms of someone I cared about. It wasn’t realistic, I wasn’t worth anyone’s time anymore.

My father had made sure of that.

I set the photo down and rested my head on my desk, watching the clock on my desk tick quietly away. There were no numbers on the clock so I wouldn’t feel guilty about missing yet another night of sleep at knowing the hour.

Will had been my best friend in college though, the only boy who cared enough about what was wrong with me and didn’t bother to try and change me for his benefit. He was smart, creepy smart but he had his issues too...it was probably why we got along so well back then. We graduated, went into academy together and i went for the special agent route while he chased his dreams of becoming a cop. That ended though and he was brought to Quantico, but the friendship stopped there one night when a psychiatrist told me to my face that Will’s dependance on me was a hindrance and that I wasn’t needed in his life anymore. Harsh, coming from a female wanna-be psychiatrist whose lip color was so different she might as well have used black and white.

The clock stopped ticking and I sighed, flicking it with more gusto than necessary and caused it to fall off my desk with a crash. Fuck me. 

I got up and went to pick up the clock, carefully holding the smaller pieces in my palm and cursed myself for ruining another fucking object. Alana had been right, I couldn’t even take care of crap like this how was I supposed to care about another human being?

I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I turned to my locked door as I heard footsteps come to a stop before it. There was a shadow across the threshold, just standing there, not even a knock. Tossing the pieces in the trash, I held the damaged clock as my weapon and walked to the door but didn’t open it. Not yet.

“Hello?”

The shadow moved away and out of sight, I unlocked the door and stepped into the hall after it immediately but only found myself alone. I let the clock fall to my side, staring at the dimming lights of the halls and rubbed my eyes again, god I was losing it these days.

First the crime scene, the blood and the father coming to life before me and touching me? It had been Jack touching me but still, my specialness- as Jack had so vaguely put it-had never made me feel like this before.

“Katie.” 

I jumped and turned to the voice, looking down my nose at a small brown haired boy whose face was beaten in. Blood pooled in the meat of his face before it dripped onto the floor at his bare feet. I stepped back, barefoot myself and felt the blood seep into the soles of my skin as he stared at me with eyes that no longer resembled eyes. Flesh of white and corneas of mush. There was a part of his skull sticking out of his head, rearranged from trauma and the hole where his mouth should have been was dripping red muscle and teeth that hadn’t developed into adult teeth.

There was a flickering of lights above us and he dissappeared in a breath.

You see us.”

I turned around, gasping in surprise as an older woman with stab wounds around her face and one long carving knife stuck in her eye looked down at me. The eye was slipping through the blade, two halves slowly sliding down her face and catching on the cuts and lacerations on her cheeks and lips which were hanging off just barely. Brown hair matted to her forehead as her dress was soaked in blood as well.

They weren’t the family from the container, no , this was the original family of the Happy murders. The ones who inspired the works I saw many hours ago now. 

They were my family. My mother and my brother, Reese.

The lights flickered once again and she was gone, just like Reese. I whipped around in the hallway, following the lights as they flashed. At the end of the hallway I saw them, standing side by side clean faced. My mother's whisper seemed to ring in my ears as we watched each other.  

“I see you.” I whispered, I felt a lump in my throat form. My mother nodded to me, pleased by my cooperation.

You see him.”

My eyes flickered down to the mutilated boy and I nodded, the clocks’ sharp broken pieces were digging into my fingers now. The mother frowned and shook her head.

Not him.” she looked to my open office door, “You see the other him.

“Other?” I frowned as she seemed to become enraged. The sulfur in the air seemed to change, I felt my knees weaken. She was draining the energy from me.

HIM!” she yelled enraged and lunged.

“NO!” I chucked the clock and held my breath.

The clock shattered on the floor and I was left panting in the middle of the hallway as silence engulfed us once more. They existed in the dust floating up to the hallway lights as the clock spun out the rest of its momentum from the floor.

“Ma’am?”

I turned around to find the five a.m janitor coming up the hall steps worriedly, hand on his belt where his taser was and looking around for what had made me scream. My heart pounded in my chest but I waved his concern off before he could reach out to give me a comforting hand. The last thing I needed was for something to touch me.

“Sorry. Working a tough case, just let the uh, ghosts of the past get to me.”

 You're a fucking idiot.

“I’ll clean up the clock for you Ms. Morrison.” he gave a small nod and I thanked him before walking back to my office.

 I slammed the door shut for a second time.

I slid down the wall, head in my hands as I listened to the janitor retrieve his things and start cleaning up my mess. The clink of the glass and metal parts wer soothing until he walked away to continue his other duties.

Five o’clock shift huh? I looked up to the ceiling and pressed my bruised fingers to my thighs to relieve the pressure. I had somewhere to be then, my family was pointing me in their direction.

Forty five minutes later found me in my car in front of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane hopped up on an energy drink, DayQuil and one of those disgusting five hour shots. I glanced in my rearview mirror to find no more ghosts of mutilated children before stepping outside. The place didn’t open officially for several more hours for visitors, luckily they knew my face here. 

I pulled my trench coat tighter around me, thankful for my bright idea of packing a suitcase and leaving it in my office years ago for shit like this. There was still blood under my fingernails from the crime scene but if no one pointed it out then I would be just fine.

I walked in behind a few orderlies before making my way to the main desk where an elderly woman was already typing away at. She glanced me over once before turning back to her screen. I waited a beat for her to say something but she remained silent. After I stared a hole in the back of her head she finally looked back up, annoyed.

“Can I help you?”

“Is Chilton in yet?”

“And you are?” she stopped typing to fix me with a glare.

She reminded me of a female version of Jack Crawford right down to the thick african hair, if Jack ever had thick hair. 

“Special Agent Morrison, FBI.”

“Badge?” she held her hand out expectantly and I fumbled.

“It was stolen a month ago, I don’t have one.”

“Then leave.” she shrugged and I raised an eyebrow.

“My father-”

“GIVE ME MY CAMERA!”

The older woman and I both looked to the main ward where a security guard and an orderly were wrestling with what appeared to be a giant poof of fiery red hair attached to a woman wearing even more red. I leaned against the counter and watched as the men managed to throw her out into the lobby with us, one had her camera hanging by his hand.

“Give it back.” the redhead stuck a frail hand out angrily.

“I wouldn’t, she’s probably got pictures of inmates fucking each other to put on her website.” I offered, causing every person in the room to look at me, “But I’ve seen Ms. Lounds destroy careers for less.”

“Katherine Morrison, you look like shit.” Freddie eyed me dangerously as the orderly handed back her camera where she tucked it into a red purse. 

“Hello Barry, hi Matthew.” I waved to the men who gave me a nod in hello back, “Chilton around?”

“Right here.”

A smaller, dark haired man with questionable facial hair appeared behind the two men looking like he had gotten into a catfight with Freddie himself. He looked out of breath, hair and suit rumpled as he glared at Freddie.

“Please make sure Mrs. Lounds is escorted off the property, Barry.” he turned to the larger man who swept past without a word but Freddie didn’t budge.

“Come to check on murder daddy? I heard that the old family murders really do bring everyone back together out of the dark after all.” Freddie placed a hand on her hip as Barry stood next to her waiting patiently.  

“You realize if you weren’t so perverse, you’d be out of a job right? Half the crazies in here can write better crap than the shit you spew out.” I gave in and her mouth twitched.

“I could bring you down, one interview with your father would do it.”

“Oh good, are you planning on sleeping with him too to get the scoop on an inmate? Oh, wait you only do that with crime scene-”

“Katherine, Freddie please.” Chilton stepped in between us and I conceded though I saw Matthew stifle a smirk behind his hand, “Barry, walk her out now.”

It was always a rumor Freddie slept with her possible story headlines to get more information, poor Zeller. She had never been proven innocent or guilty on that but it always seemed to get a reaction out of her so it was a win for everyone. Except Freddie.

There was a collective sigh of relief from the rest of us as soon as the door clicked shut behind them. Chilton turned to me as he smoothed his hair and gave an apologetic smile before sending Matthew away to check on whoever Freddie was bothering.

“Katherine, I’d say it’s a happy surprise to see you but I’d be lying.”

Chilton didn’t offer his hand and I was grateful as he explained who I was to the clerk, grabbing me a visitor’s badge before gesturing me to follow him to his office as more orderlies filtered in to start their jobs at the hospital. I liked the BSHCI, it was run adequately well by Chilton when he wasn’t trying to make a few thousand bucks off selling the criminal’s stories who resided here...so, maybe it wasn’t run that well all the time after all. Then again, since my father’s imprisonment here he didn’t have alot of interesting crazies coming through anymore.

As soon as we walked into Chilton’s office and I recognized the other man sitting in the chair I let out a loud groan. Jack turned to me from reading a file and raised his eyebrow but didn’t seem to be too surprised to see me there. I flopped down in the other leather seat and slouched like a child as Chilton looked between us.

“Lounds had slipped in when Jack came pounding on my doors before opening time. She was prowling around when Barry caught her on the security tapes.” Chilton poured a finger of whiskey into a glass.

“Poor you, I’ll make it quick then. I want to open up my visitation rights to see my father again.” I spoke and even Jack paused in his reading to face me.

“He didn’t do it, this time.” Jack sighed and I ignored his stupid face.

“Didn’t do what?” I asked to the air and Chilton rolled his eyes.

“Jack told me about the crime scene, he asked to see your dad too, but since you hold legality over your father’s rights-”

“He plead insanity, I know his charges Chilton I was there.” I snapped, “He handed them over to me, get to the damn point.”

“Your dad didn’t do it, he’s been in isolation since he attacked his therapist seven months ago. He’s made no request either to be moved out of there after his mandatory three months. Whoever did this crime, is copying your father.”

I sat back and let Chilton’s words sink in, so maybe the slimy bastard was running the hospital better than I thought. I rubbed my eyes again and sighed as Chilton pushed the blue file Jack had been reading to me as he poured another shot and ordered coffee to be brought to him. I didn’t open the file and Jack eyed  me.

“You didn’t want in, Katie. So what are you doing here?”

I looked away, out the window where the sun was rising and thought back to the dead ghosts in the hallway. They had wanted me to see my father, who was I to refuse the dead?”

“I can’t stop thinking about it, I’m not going to be able to. The guy, whoever it is, even drew the fucking smiley face into the wall. If it’s not my dad…” 

“Then that makes two copycats in Virginia.” Jack muttered.

“Yeah I heard about that, sucks for you.” I smirked a little bit and Jack glared, “But I’m taking this case, I just won’t be out on the field.”

“This is too personal-”

“Good thing I don’t work under you anymore then.” I cut Jack off as Chilton looked on with fascination between us, “I have no problem going over your head to the Director to get what I want, you know that Jack.”

Chilton cleared his throat as he checked his logs on his computer.

“The only visit of any kind we allowed was his therapist, whom he attacked seven months ago. He hasn’t been back since.”

“Is he receiving mail still?” I downed the rest of my cancer ridden drink and Chilton shrugged. 

“Basic crazy fan mail. Nothing too important. He never sends mail back out.”

“Seriously? You think he can’t conspire without sending shit out? He’s a killer not illiterate. Where’s his cell?”

“It’s still unoccupied, but we moved his things into isolation when he refused to come back into the general populace.” Chilton offered, already phoning down to the security room for an inspection in his room, “Just to be clear, your father is a person of interest?”

“Don’t get excited Doctor, you aren't going in my honorable mentions.” I replied and Chilton frowned before excusing himself. 

Jack and I remained in the room, silent and tense.

“Katherine, the crime scene...I’m sorry what you had to see.” Jack offered first and I felt all my anger deflate. Christ, Jack don't guilt trip me.

“I saw them...Reese and my mom, not long after you left. They were in the hallway, busted up and bleeding. They asked if I could see him.”

“Your dad?” 

“That’s what I’m assuming. Ghost shit isn’t always clear. I’m starting to think that this isn’t a sixth sense thing, maybe I’m hallucinating.”

We were interrupted by Chilton coming back in with Barry in tow.

“We’re going to have your father’s things brought up-”

“No need, I came here for a reason Dr. Chilton. My father can’t lie to me, I’ll take his things from him myself. I’d rather hear it from him that he wasn’t involved.”

I stood and brushed past Chilton and a concerned Jack as Barry accompanied me to the other ward where the serial killers and more unruly ones were kept. Barry separated me from the inmates as we walked through, his larger body dwarfed mine and hid me from view as the inmates slowly woke up around us. Jack and Chilton followed us into the elevator down to the isolation rooms.

“As a doctor I really don’t think this is going to be healthy for you.” Chilton said, stress evident in his voice as he and Jack kept a good distance away from me in the elevator.

“Good thing you’re only just a doctor then.” I spit back but chilton just smiled to himself and muttered something, “Besides, Dr. Chilton, Jane said that my repressed memories are fine, the wall won’t crack if I see my dad again so if you’re hoping for a juicy breakdown you’ll be disappointed...so there’s my own psychiatrist’s approval for you.” 

“Would you like to be alone with him then?” Chilton asked as we stepped out of the elevator and began walking towards the room at the end of the hall. 

None of the other isolation rooms were occupied. 

“It’d be preferable” I nodded and they stopped walking as Barry unlocked the door for me, “Don’t worry. I’ll leave the door open.” 

“Her non existent concern for her life is troubling.” Chilton spoke to Jack before he walked to the security monitor room off to the side. 

The room was dimly lit, a couple stick-on lights on the ceiling was all they allowed my father. This isolation room was bigger than the others; it accommodated a small desk, a bed, a lounge chair and a mirror where a shaving kit resided. He wasn’t suicidal but I was surprised Chilton let him keep a fucking razor in here. 

I shoved my hands in my pockets as the man in the white jumpsuit on the bed stretched out from where he was lying down. He smiled, eyes crinkling on the sides where stress and anxiety had ridden him hard through the years in prison. 

“Katie, I figured it was you. No one comes to visit me anymore.” 

“Nobody’s ever visited you before.” I replied as my dad fixed his pompadour hair and nodded, “stand to the wall, hands braced and feet spread. I’ll have Barry come in here and spread you myself if you give me any trouble.” 

“I’ve got time.” He nodded but loved to the far end of the room anyways, “Looking for something?”

“Proving myself wrong, unfortunately.” I replied and sat on the bed before pulling the boxes under the bed close to me. 

My dad didn’t seem to care as he lounged against the wall with his arms crossed, content to watch me dig through papers and fan mail and skim over them. I looked up as a particularly perfume-y letter assaulted my nose but he simply smiled. 

I got up and flipped through his journal, not finding anything of note as my dad shifted and crossed his legs to get comfortable against the wall. 

He had killed them, stabbed my mom through the face and best Reese’s head in until shards of bone fragments embedded themselves in the cabinets. I had hidden myself in the cupboard, watching him kill them before he began to search for me in the house. Deranged, he had drawn happy faces on the counters, on the floor and on their bodies. One big dead family. 

“I don’t have anything to hide.” 

“Did I ask? No? Shut the fuck up then.” I hissed and tosses the journal on the bed which fell to the floor. A picture fell out of the back of the journal and I picked it up. 

“You know I’m doing this for you right, Katie-Q? To keep my own baby girl out of jail I’d do anything. As introverted as you are you wouldn’t last in here-“

“Again, you don’t know me.” I muttered still staring at the picture. He ignored me. 

“-food is shit too. Conversation never lasts and the amount of flies at night is deafening. I’d take the life sentences if it meant to keep you out of here.” 

“You’re still hellbent in convincing me that I was the one that killed everyone. Repeating things over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Something you plead guilty too. So let that sink in.” 

“Katie. You know there was something wrong with grandpa, you saw how deranged he got after years of suppressing what was wrong with him.”

“What was wrong with him is that he watched too many fucking crime shows as he got older with dementia and went on and on about the people he killed. I remember the Ted Bundy phase that wasn’t fun.” I snapped and he glared at me. 

“You’ve grown up. Last I saw you for more than five minutes was when you were 14 at the trial and then when you came by for Christmas during college. Your hairs longer, more natural. You’ve got your mother's good genes.” He spoke softly and pushed off the wall as I stood from the bed carefully, “You know how much I love you Katie-Q, and I want to help you with whatever’s happening to force yourself back into my life. I really do. But I can’t if you don’t accept yourself for who you are inside. Who grandpa was, before he went crazy. The mental illness skips generations honey, we were trying to get you help so you wouldn’t end up like grandpa.” 

“Oh right, we're going back to the many mental illnesses I've inherited how could I forget. Or maybe I'm just fucked up after what you did to me.” 

“It’s real Katie, you’re more predisposed to violence. To killing. To murder.” He pressed and I stepped to the side closer to the desk where a sharpened pencil lay. He was between me and the door now, “I want you to get the help you need, and it seems me being in here taking punishment for your actions is the only way you're getting better.” 

“I don't even have neough time to open that can of bullshit. I'm not crazy either!” I shouted back, emotions rising like a fire, “Grandpa was an insane lunatic who claimed he killed more than twenty people when in reality, his hallucinations forgot to include the fact he couldn’t walk more than five steps without needing oxygen!” 

“He died a madman, I don’t want the same for you, I want you to get help and I want you to be happy with the new life it will give you babygirl, that’s all I want. If you learn to control it then you’ll be as strong as I am. I want my baby back, we’re all that’s left for each other.” 

I didn’t realize I was tearing up until he stepped around the table and opened his arms up to me to give me a hug. I froze as he came closer and felt all the breath leave my body. 

He didn’t know about my hapheophobia, he was going to touch me, he was going to-

My father convulsed on the spot, body jerking in tight twitches before he fell backwards onto the ground where his body continued to shake. I looked up, hand clutching the pencil in my hand as I followed the bright, electric blue web of the taser gun to a man at the door. 

I was staring at Will Graham as Barry stood next to him, taser drawn and ready to fight should my father get back up. 

“You alright Ms. Morrison?” Barry walked in and shoved cuffs on my father as the electricity faltered out through his body.

 Veins stood out from his neck where he had clenched his jaw in pain. I nodded weakly as my father was hauled out of the room. 

Will Graham was here. Will Graham was staring at me. 

I sat on the bed as Will stood outside the cell and watched me unfreeze my fingers so the pencil clattered to the floor. 

“How long have you been standing there?” I asked and Will shifted. 

“Since you screamed you weren't crazy.” 

“Dramatic entrance.” I muttered and walked out of the room and into the bare hallway, I looked for Jack and Chilton but didn’t find them anywhere. 

Will and I stood there awkwardly, refusing to meet each other’s eyes as I calmed down and let the adrenaline leave me. 

He still looked good, unkept messy black hair, eyes that shifted to avoid contact whenever he could. I smiled to myself as Will shifted in his spot and stuck his hands into a nice blazer. He looked like the teacher he was always meant to be, a little more fancy around the edges but still himself.

“I have four new dogs since you last came over.” 

“I owned a bird for a month before it flew out my window.” 

We spoke at the same time, running over each other nervously before Will cracked a small smile as well. A bird was questionable for him, even more rare for me to even want another living thing around me. We looked up as Chilton and Jack burst through the elevator and jogged to us. Chilton began apologizing over and over again to me but I only watched Will’s reaction as he and Jack shared a look. Will curled his upper lip in a snarl before turning away. 

Well that was interesting, Jack had made it seem like he and Will were the ultimate buddies in the crime scene community. Using Will as bait to convince poeple seemed to be something he was good at it seemed.

“Can you get me in contact with my dads therapist by chance? My dad is no longer a suspect but I’d like to know what the hell he wanted a therapist for. He has tons of meditation books in his room and I see you’ve supplied him with a real razor so.” I looked pointedly to Chilton. 

“All of his files are back in my office.” Chilton gestured for us to follow. 

Will walked next to me the entire way back to the office, quiet and solemn as Chilton explained to me what would happen to my father now that he had attempted to grab me. I waved off pressing more charges which shut Chilton up. 

Will’s presence next to me was unnerving, I felt all the pain and heartbreak from the last time we saw each other in the way he looked at me when he thought I wasn’t paying attention. I was hyper aware of every move he made around me as Jack walked into Chilton’s office but Will put a hand out to stop me from following. 

 I could hear Jack already chewing Chilton out for his faults of letting a weapon into my father's cell. I smiled to myself as Will and I stayed in the hallway and faced each other. I saw the emotions flicker across his face before they settled on anger and annoyance. 

“So you're back working again I guess? You haven’t spoken to me in a year, haven’t even tried to. I had no idea you were still working at the BAU…are you even still in Wolf’s Trap?” He bit out,  hands on his hips as he waited angrily. 

 He folded his arms, unfolded them, then stuck his hands in his pockets before folding his arms again. 

“I didn’t think you’d want me to, I live closer to town now but I’m still in the area. Somewhat.” I offered quietly, Will looked away from me. 

“Well something would have been nice, to know that you were alive. After what happened-“ 

“Exactly.” I cut him off and folded my own arms, “I didn’t want anyone I knew trying to be around me much less someone who had already fucked my head up with his own god damn selfish choices. I checked myself out of that hospital and changed everything but my own name. I didn’t want reminders of what happened between us. Before and after Alana fucking Bloom and my attack.”

There. It was out in the open. Will deflated, arms falling to his sides weakly as he looked at his shoes. I couldn’t even look at him, angry I let the past get the better of me in a conversation. 

“I saved you from him.” Will breathed and it felt like the air was being punched from my own gut, “Alana didn’t know he would go after you when she told him.” 

“Well he did. My dad broke into my house, held me down and tried to drown the evil out of me. Thanks to your girlfriend, who was desperate enough for attention, she told him where I lived.”

“I pulled you from that basement, even when you tried to attack me I hauled you out of there.” Will finally looked at me. 

My skin had never burned more painfully than when Will had dragged me from the water boarding and had shot my dad in the leg. But he did it, dragged my hyperventilating sorry ass out of there and stuck me in a hospital when I screamed and thrashed in the ambulance. 

I left before he had a chance to see me fully recover, to broken to stay and look at the scratches and marks I had given him a year ago for saving me. I left everything behind, all because I was bitter he chose Alana over me. 

“I know. And I couldn’t put you through anything again, not you.” I whispered and Will nodded, “I knew it was the wrong thing to do but what was I supposed to do? We hated each other. Or at least I hated you.” 

“You could’ve came back to Wolf’s Trap with me?”

The question made me feel dumb, but he was right. It was hell being by myself trying to sort through everything with no one to talk to or convey my frustrations to. I shook my head and wiped the tears that threatened to spill from my eyes. I took a deep, shuddering breath and Will did too. 

“Yeah well, Alana had made it clear to me in the hospital that you would do better without me around. You had her, why would I burden you with a crippled shit like me?” 

“Alana said that?” Will looked confused, I could hear the gears turning in his brain as he recalled the events from the time we split, “She only said she talked to you after we-“

We were interrupted by a distressed Chilton rushing out of his office looking for us. 

“What?” I asked as he raised a shaky hand to pull at his tie. 

“His files aren’t here. None of your fathers files are here anymore.”

There was a best of silence before I pushed past Chilton and walked into his office where Jack was going through the file cabinet. 

Jack stepped out of the way so I could flip through myself. No case files starting under MOR and no case files under my father's first name as well. Someone had taken the files regarding my father's time here and didn’t leave a trace behind. 

“Whoever took the file is the killer. His therapist was probably next.” 

“So now  we're looking at your dad as a potential victim?”

“Who else knows about the details to the original crime? They weren’t released to the public, the smiley faces and things like that. His therapist had to know though, he had to be given the details in order to take on my dad.” I explained as I settled against Chilton’s desk, “They knew what they were looking for and knew how to get in.” 

“I’m the only one who has keys.” Chilton objected and even Will scoffed at that. 

“It’s not that hard to pick a lock, Doctor .” Will wasn’t taking any of Chilton’s bullshit either it seemed. 

I ran my fingers back over the file cabinet where the files had been torn. A strip of blue paper still remained, torn carelessly and I closed my eyes and took a breath. 

“Papers were pulled with force. They were in a hurry so it shows that this is an amateur job. Not a hardened criminal. He upped the ante with the kills though, he took some time to practice.” I offered. 

“So they are still having you do that psychic stuff.” Will muttered low enough for only me to hear and I smiled at his tone. 

“Jack says it’s a gift to have a heightened sixth sense. I think it’s just a showy way of saying I’m hypervigilant but that doesn’t sound cool on a resume.” 

Will smiled softly and we locked eyes before looking away again.

“So we have a missing therapist, potentially, and a killer who may come back for your father. I want Morrison on lockdown in isolation. Nobody in or out who isn’t a trusted orderly. Videotapes?” Jack demanded. 

“We erase them every Friday.” 

“This happened long before a week or so ago.” I held up the crumbled file strip that had been ripped to show the drawer  had been opened several times since then, “No surveillance.” 

“Your dad attacked his therapist I thought.” Will spoke up and we stood still. 

“Fuck I forgot, yeah why did he?” I turned to Chilton. 

“Claimed a conflict of interest. Hit him in the side of the head before we were able to subdue him and stick him in isolation.” 

“I’m guessing that was the last of his therapist you saw then.”

“I actually never met him.” Chilton shrugged, “He met the other guy who quit before I took over. I had my hands full enough. I didn’t need to worry about some therapist.” 

“Oh so you killed a guy then through your ignorance.” I rolled my eyes and Chilton sputtered. 

“Would it be too much to assume maybe the therapist is a suspect? Like you said, he had intimate knowledge of the crime scenes. And then he disappears after your dad socks him in the face.” Will ran a hand through his hair. I thought about it before nodding. 

“It’s not entirely impossible.” I turned to Chilton, “So you never met him? Not once?”

“I heard his name was Mackey in passing. First or last I don’t know. Black hair maybe. Tall dude. Don’t remember much.” 

“You’re the worst person ever to give a description.” I countered back at his attitude and Chilton looked offended like I had stepped on his Italian fuck boy loafers, “Why was Freddie Lounds here?”

“To see your dad. She didn’t know he was in lockup so she was browsing the regular cells.” Jack interrupted before Chilton could weasel out of it, “She didn’t get remotely close to him. She wanted info on the murders too.”

“Let it stay public that my dad may have done the crime. If the killer sees him taking credit it’ll piss him off.”

“Nothing pisses them off more than someone stealing their work.” Will muttered, “Freddie could help with that if we keep her in the dark just enough.”

“The plan’s set in motion then. The question is if my dad knows where this Mackey is or if he’s still alive.” 

“Happy Man murderer broke free and killed them before he was apprehended once again?” Will asked, "If Mackey is the killer..."

“We can go with that angle for now, it’s seeming more and more plausible for Mackey.” I nodded and turned as Will’s watch began beeping before he shut it off. 

“I have a class...it ends in an hour. I’ll have the profile to you then Jack with my case.” Will pushed off the counter and looked at me, “My uh….my numbers still the same.”

Will left without another word and I was alone again with the angry Head Behavioral guy and the man who was seeming more and more like a weasel. 

“So you never thought to make copies of my dad and his therapists’ time?” 

“Obviously not.” Chilton bristled. 

“We have literally nothing to go on.” I turned to Jack and ignored Chilton. 

“What part of this case involves you? You’re not on this case, Katherine. You made that very clear-“ 

“And I’m pretty sure I told you that I was. I’m here, Jack. That should be enough for you. It always had been. You dragged my ass out in the middle of the night and didn’t let up until I was covered in blood. I can still smell it on me and I even changed clothes. This is my blood causing these murders one way or another, so it’s going to be my mess to clean up.” 

The picture of the young girl in the cupboard flashed across my eyes and I took a deep breath and looked down where my fingers were gripping Chilton’s desk. 

“He showed me what would have happened if my dad had killed me. I guarantee you he’s going to kill again in the same way. He put too much effort into the first one to not try and up himself a second time.”

“How?” Jack asked. 

“He got some details wrong in the first one. My kitchen was backwards, things were on the wrong walls. He’ll want to correct them...” I looked outside, muttering to myself, “Until I can’t differentiate what’s real or not, until I don't know ghosts from the lving..”

“You’ll be able to though? Seems like you’re sixth sense is a bunch of bullshit hallucinations.” Chilton jabbed at me. 

“Just keep everyone away from me and stop fucking up information.” I spoke to Jack but Chilton knew it was directed at him. 

“I’ll have Katz send up a report on the bodies when I get back. Price is going to want you to go down and see him st one point as well.” 

“Just give me a call.” I nodded as I followed Jack out of Chilton’s office and to the elevator once again, “Look Jack, after this I’m thinking of sending in my resignation.” 

Jack was silent as we stepped into the elevator and hit our buttons. 

“I’m not going to let you go easily. I need you on my team.” He warned and I smiled as I stuck my hands in my pockets, "With Will back profiling for me again and tackling ym cases the two of you together again would be a good thing."

“I know you aren't, Bella's right about your stubbornness that's for sure. Just don’t tell Will. It’s bad enough we don’t know what todo around each other now I’m back but I don’t need him hating me all over again when I leave for good.” 

“He’ll find out eventually. Especially when I make good on my promise that you're not leaving here quickly. I'll dealy that resignation, you know I will.” Jack stepped out on his floor and I pressed the button down to the new room my father was being held in. Jack held the doors from closing before looking me over, “Take a shower Katherine. You stink.”

“Tell that to your car seats.” 

The doors closed in his face and I was left alone with my thoughts. Again 

Matthew was waiting for me at the new isolation cell where my dad was being held and gave a surprised double look. 

“Barry said he attacked you, had to-to taser him.” He stuttered briefly and I smiled. 

“He did. But Barry got the drop on him though. How is he?” 

“Been s-sad. Hasn’t said a word.” Matthew looked around, “Are you-“ 

“I’ll talk through the hole if that’s okay with you.” 

Matthew nodded and unlocked the food port where I crouched down to see my dad lounging on a cot like he was right at home. His eyes opened and once he saw me he bounced off the mattress and came to a crouch as close as he could get to me.

“You’re heading out?” 

“I want to know about your therapist. What he looked like, his name and what you talked about.” 

“No.” 

I sat back on my heels as he got up and went back to his bed, sitting angrily and glaring at the opposite wall. 

“Why not?” I questioned. 

“I don’t want you involved on this case.”

“You really have no say in the matter. You signed off the ‘parental responsibilities’ when you murdered my mom and brother. Withholding information can serve you more time.” I threatened and he scoffed. 

“More time in a cell doesn’t bother me. I’m in here protecting you from this life, remember? Mackey is dangerous-“ 

“So it is Mackey. I’m guessing it’s a last name then.” I muttered and my dad looked up at that, alarmed he gave himself away. He scowled. 

“Fine. Yes. Mackey is his last name. I’m not giving you more than that. He’s as deranged as grandpa was, delusional is more fitting actually.” 

“So there’s reason to believe Mackey’s the killer.”

“Stop doing that!” He stood up and threw his arms out uselessly. 

“You can’t lie to me.” I stood up but he dropped back to his knees and put a hand out to me through the open hole. Matthew drew his baton but I put a hand up to stop him. 

“Katie. Katie please if there’s anything smart left in you then listen to me. Don’t. Go. After. This guy. You don’t know how many shades of screwed up he is, I could barely stand it myself. Please, Katie.”

“You lost the right to be a father. We’ll be in touch Mr. Morrison.” 

“Wait!” 

I stopped as he held out his hand. 

“The photo you took from my journal. I want it back.” He held out his hand and I took the photo out from my pocket where I had stowed it. 

“No. Mr. Brown, if you will?” 

Matthew stepped forward and I heard my dad sigh before he retracted his hand and the opening was locked tight again. I took a deep breath as Matthew turned to me. 

“You want me to walk y-you back up?” 

“No thank you Matthew. Have a safe rest of your shift.” I smiled at the man and he nodded before walking away. 

I listened to my heels click across the parking lot, too lost in my own thoughts before I realized my car wasn’t sitting by itself any longer in the lot. 

Will leaned against my car, computer bag slung over his shoulders as he flicked through his old blackberry. I slowed down and began to walk softly, happy to watch him sniffle and push his glasses up his nose as he frowned at his screen. 

“You’ll miss your class, professor.” I jingled my keys and Will jumped for a second before composing himself. 

Will was sunshine, soft and warm even though there was always murder in his eyes. Nothing but chocolate hair and dreamy curls with sarcasm written into his skin. 

“Cancelled it. They don’t like me anyways. Do you...do you want to have lunch with me?” Will looked me right in the eye, I let him. 

After a few seconds he seemed happy with what he found as he looked me over. I nodded. 

“Give you a ride?” I offered and he nodded before sliding into the passenger seat. 

I smiled to myself as the morning sun broke through the clouds and shone down on my face. I wasn’t going to think too much about that. 

__

Will’s classroom was a dark, daunting place. I could see why his students were afraid of him. 

“It wouldn’t kill you to turn on the lights to full power sometimes.” I griped as we dug into some leftover beef, at least that’s what I assumed it was. Will had said some fancy name with a smirk, “I can’t believe your psychiatrist made this. It’s amazing. Must be nice getting home cooked meals again.”

“I don’t understand why you’re seeing Jane. He’s not exactly a reputable therapist.” Will continued the conversation as he dropped his fork and cursed, “Even my own says he has unusual methods. And that’s saying something.” 

“You make it sound like yours is some uptight asshole.” I smiled and he shrugged. 

“He can be weird. Not as weird as yours though. Sensory deprivation isn’t going to help your phobia. It’s the complete opposite.” 

“I’m always thinking about when the next person is going to touch me. Take every possibility of being touched away and I’m fine. Jane’s helped me a lot, Will. Through the PTSD and the depression, he may be unethical but it worked.” 

“Unethical should be enough for you to run away.” He pointed out. 

“It was either him or Alana as my appointed therapist. So I can drown in water or I can sink in sand. Slowly. I chose the water, I know how to keep myself afloat. I’m not about to make the same mistake twice with her. Besides, once I get my gun and field signature I can make the choice to drop him or continue. Probably drop everything altogether at that point.”

“What do you mean?” 

I caught myself quickly before I let it spill. 

“Therapy’s expensive.” I shrugged and shoved food into my mouth.

“Jack doesn’t want you on this case....he uh, he also told me what happened at the scene.”

“That why you were at the hospital then?” 

“I was there anyways to get a confession.”

“You’ve had weirder shit happen to you than a simple freak out at scenes, Will.” I countered and he didn’t deny it, “How is that by the way? The empathy?”

“Gives me headaches now. Migraines. I’m tired a lot.” He sat back and I finished my own food, “I sound like you in college. Always complaining.”

I laughed for a second before I helped him put the Tupperware away. Will was always close to me, never enough to touch but close enough if I wanted to. He was always more physically closer than I let others be. Everyone else seemed to accidentally intrude on my bubble, but Will seemed to be always aware of what I needed. 

“My dad kept telling me he was in jail for me. How much he was sorry that it ended up like this basically. I kept waiting for him to say he loved me like he did on trial, when he cried his eyes out.” I took out the photo and slid it across the table to Will who gently took it. “I had nightmares for a long time about you. Kept seeing my dad kill you, I told myself I’d rather it be me than you who ever had to die in this job.”

“There was no evidence or statements in the official reports that you killed them, Katie.” 

“And the unofficial report?” I shook my head, “Sometimes it feels like it was me. Like, I remember holding the knife and drawing in the blood.”

“You were thirteen.”

“Old enough to understand murder. Old enough to kill. To know to hide to get out of trouble.” 

My phone chimed with a message from Jane and I sighed before relying. Will frowned. 

“How many sessions until the signatures?”

“How long did it take you?” I laughed, “However long it takes me to convince Jane I’m not gonna kill myself or other people at least for the gun. For the field stuff that’s up to me. I don’t want to go out but I feel like it’s inevitable.” 

There was a comfortable silence between us as I continued to converse with Jane on my phone. But it wasn’t awkward. Not like in the hospital hallway. It was like no time had passed, like everything was forgiven. I still felt our last argument a year ago bubbling in the back of my head. I set my phone down and Will watched me over his thermos of coffee. 

“Will, look, I know Jack has you running around on his own cases, plus you have classes to teach. I don’t want to bother you but-“

“Katie?” 

I turned around to the voice and felt the anger bubble inside my blood once again. All good feelings gone as dread gripped my heart for a second as Alana Bloom, dressed and pristine as ever, stood in Will’s class doorway looking confused at the sight of me. 

Will stood up out of his seat, clumsily brushing crumbs off himself as his face flushed red.

Of course. It was stupid of me to think that they had broken up after all this time. Why would Will Graham want a broken girl like me anyways? 

I got up and Will finally snapped his eyes to me. 

“I have a case to work. I’ll keep in touch, Will.” 

“Wait, Katie-“ 

I walked away, away from Will and past Alana as she stood dumbfounded at the sight of me, one could say it was like she was seeing a ghost. With tears brimming my eyes I kept my head down and walked out of his classroom. I managed to dodge a man in a suit by slamming my body against the wall to avoid contact. I threw a hasty sorry and continued to jog out of the classroom building. 

Couldn’t even get a fucking grip on myself what was wrong with me. I shouldn’t even be jealous or angry he was with her, of course he’d stay with Alana fucking Bloom. 

I had a murder to focus on, not some dumbass crush from college. 

___

Hannibal Lecter walked into Will Graham’s classroom slowly, adjusting his suit from the near brush with hurried death from the young woman that had fled by him. He looked up to see Alana and his husband in a very tense argument already. 

“Angry student of yours, Will?” He interrupted and the two quite baring their figurative teeth at one another to acknowledge him. 

“No. No, an old colleague, she just got back into work.” Will shook his head and Alana pursed her lips. 

“She shouldn’t even be back at work, especially working that case. What the hell was Jack thinking asking for her help? Putting her through that?”

“Like you care about her well being.” Will snapped at Alana and even Hannibal raised an eyebrow to that, “She would have found out about it some way.”

Clearly this girl was important to Will, Hannibal had never heard him defend someone with such... emotion before. If the girl was causing this much stress in his darling monster though, Hannibal had a recipe he wanted to experiment with. Still, there was something about this girl that was intriguing like Will had been when he had shuffled into his office that first meeting. She looked...broken. 

“Found out about what?” Hannibal voiced, reminding the two of them that yes, he was alive still and in this room.

 Alana opened her mouth to explain but a slam of Will’s computer redirected her course. 

She ignored Hannibal’s question. 

“She shouldn’t have a job anymore, not this kind of stuff. She’s still too-“ 

“Unstable? I shouldn’t have had this job, Alana. Jack had me out in the field sooner than her when I came back, she’s taking her time with it. Something I didn’t have the courtesy of, she’s smarter than you, she’s not an idiot.” 

Hannibal was glowing inside, this kind of rudeness towards Alana from Will was immensely surprising. The two of them had started tlaking again only a month ago, trying to rekindle their friendship...it also had to do with Will having to cover up a loose end for him after a nasty surgeon had tried to blackmail them.

Will shoved his computer back in his bag angrily. He was mad at Alana for interrupting them. The three of them never had a good history and Katie had a right to be pissed with him about Alana. She was going to ask him something, he could literally feel their friendship healing today. Until this. God, anybody but Alana could’ve walked in and they would have been fine.

Even Hannibal with his weird, dead calm face and his philosophical questions was more welcome to interrupt their lunch. Will paused as he zipped up his bag, he’d have to introduce them sometime, she’d have to listen to Hannibal about Jane at least. 

“She threw herself against the wall, Will.” Hannibal pointed out. 

“Yeah well, you probably got too close to her and she didn’t want to touch you.” Will threw up a hand as if that explained it all. 

“She’s still dealing with that? I thought Jane had her on medication now?” 

“Yeah, also, why the hell would you recommend her Jane? He’s a total creep.” 

“Patrick Jane?” Hannibal inquired, Patrick Jane was one of the most unconventional, unethical-should’ve been fired ages ago-therapists that he knew. 

He was looked down on in the community but his gossip and scandal that he caused with women let him stay. 

“He seemed like a good fit.” Alana quietly admitted, even Hannibal was surprised at her naive recommendation 

If this girl was as fragile as Will was making her seem then Alana and Jane would have fucked her up. 

“She’s a special consultant for the FBI, she’s a psychic-“ Alana turned to Hannibal. 

“No. No she’s not.” Will argued, “That’s just what they all want her to be she’s just, she’s hypervigilant. She’s got a good sixth sense.” 

Will was getting more distressed by the second. 

“They gave her the title of a fortune teller.” Hannibal amused himself. 

“She’s as brilliant as Will, don’t get me wrong, but she’s destructive to herself. Hallucinations of ghosts-“ 

“Oh and I’m not destructive?” Will snapped. 

“Why are you getting mad at me? I walked in here and she ran out!” Alana finally defended herself, “I didn’t even know she was here, Will!” 

“I know Alana!” 

“She physically attacked you!” 

Alana, Will.”

Hannibal’s voice boomed between them and Will ducked his head immediately. Alana stilled before she straightened her dress before they both looked to Hannibal. Hannibal waited until he saw Will’s chest even out with his breaths. 

Hannibal picked up the photo that was lying on his desk still as Alana left the room in a flurry of perfume and anger. they waited until they heard the click of the door shutting before Will sighed and fell into Hannibal's open arms, he ducked his head into the crook of the taller man's neck. They stayed like that for a moment, Will relaxing into his arms as Hannibal tangled his fingers in chocolate curls of hair. He was pleased it was finally growing out again, Will was a beautiful masterpiece. 

Hannibal studied the photo in his hand as he wrestled Will into his blazer and grabbed his things for him. the old photo was from college, they hadn’t been touching but she had been on the bed drunk and smiling. Will was on the floor not quite smiling but not quite frowning. Happier times for her it seemed. Will grumbled as he sat down heavily in Hannibal's Bentley and took the photo from him, the younger man played with the corner of the photo. 

Seeing his best friend again, someone he had actually cared about in his life... 

Even if they weren’t on good terms, he still cared. He knew he did. He was still able to care for other human beings, Hannibal had proven that to him. Hannibal had shown him the love he deserved and he knew it well.

The question though, was she still able to care?

Chapter Text

Freddie Lounds, as always, had made a mess of everything on Tattlecrime . Five days worth of bullshit speculations about me has, and still is, plastered all over the site. I had arrived at the first crime scene and the media was eating it up still, I’ve never had so many pictures taken of me. I wanted to strangle them. 

  Return of the Happy Man Murder? Happy Man Strikes Again! Where is the daughter now? FBI special agent Katherine Morrison-

The last one was my favorite but I never finished reading it because reporters and news services began pounding at my door at seven in the morning, starting fucking yesterday, demanding quotes. 

This morning was no different as I stepped out of my car juggling a thermos of tea and a cigarette between my fingers as reporters began to fall on me like vultures in the Quantico parking lot. Careful to use my free hand, I shoved their expensive cameras and videos to the ground as best as I could. My cigarette got crushed in the scuffle which saddened me even more. 

I slammed the doors of the building shut behind me, seething with anger as security snapped their heads up as the windows threatened to shatter from the force. 

“Get them the hell off this property before I unload a magazine into their heads.” I hissed, stalking to the elevator in untied boots as the reporters snapped pictures outside the building. 

I had to have been a sight to see today, hair wild and clothes not tucked in or smoothed out. My badge was still missing so now I had to punch a code in to get fucking anywhere here in the buildings. As far as the FBI went, they were shit at fixing their problems for their own employees. 

Once I was in my office I prayed for this moment of peace and silence in my office  to extend forever before more shit came my way. I set my things down and took up the autopsy report Katz had dutifully delivered along with a sticky note to get my ass down there to say hi to everyone again. 

Nothing important, no drugs or toxins but the woman had interesting wounds around her eyes that had blossomed into black rings. Wasn’t much to go off of but if the science team noted it then it was important to take on. 

I tried not to think of the young girl who died. 

My computer beeped on an update from Tattlecrime, my curiosity to know when I’m being talked about on there had been too tempting to not set up an alert. I groaned as the picture uploaded on the very front page, of course she was there to snap a picture of me this morning on my own fucking balcony. I shut it down before I was forced to read the rest. First things first, I was going to murder Lounds. 

I looked up at a knock on my door to see Chilton walk in with a briefcase clutched in his hand. It was made public, somehow, that my father had attacked me in my cell. I had no doubt in my mind he had told Lounds to get more revenue for the hospital, I could never tell if we liked each other or hated each other. 

“Good morning.”

“Dr. Chilton, good morning, come in. You need something?” I turned the lights up as he stepped in and set his briefcase down on the chair. 

“Trouble getting in today?” He asked, regaining his own composure but stopped as he spotted the boards filled with pictures and new statements of the case lining my office, “This is impressive work.”

“I can only imagine the kind of fiasco you’re having at the hospital.” I looked at him pointedly and he shrugged. 

“One hundred requests and counting. All of them want to talk to your dad. He’s still off limits, of course.” 

“I wonder how Lounds knew of his lunge towards me in his cell. As far as I know only you, Jack, Will and Barry knew about that. Funny.”  I pinned up a photo of the current autopsy report next to my own mother's years ago, “It seems to me, Doctor, that you don’t run a very tight hospital. First, you allow my father to start seeing a therapist who you did not request a new background check on and now he’s our number one suspect. Second, all documentation of their visits is gone, no copies were even made. Three, you have now broken protocol by allowing a fucking reporter to know intimate details of the case when it’s not to be made public just so you could get more money.”

Chilton didn’t even seem bothered, just mildly annoyed. 

“But,” I continued, “I have a mess on my hands enough as it is at this very moment to go into more detail. What do you want?”

“I have news, information.” Chilton opened his briefcase with a huff and pulled out yet another fucking file and a thumb drive.

He dropped it on the desk well away from him, still mindful not to hand me things directly and I set the thumb drive in. I looked through the profile briefly. 

“We have a first name?” I stared at the information. 

“I contacted the last supervisor and asked if he had anything. These are just copies of his notes from meeting Arthur Mackey. Who isn’t alive anymore, by the way.”  Chilton explained as I clicked on another picture of an older man who was deceased, “The real Arthur Mackey is an eighty year old man in New York. Died of a heart attack a year ago and then his identity was stolen.” 

“Real Mackey worked on the force too, easy pickings then.” I spoke as I sifted through everything. Chilton has come in clutch, “I guess I can’t call you lazy for the past few days then...thank you.” 

Fake psychiatrist Mackey had stolen everything, credit cards, credentials and even the old man’s diplomas. So the guy wasn’t new to being a criminal then, it shifted my profile of him but not by much. 

“As far as physical description goes?” Chilton sat down in a chair and crossed his legs, “He is a male, six foot one approximately, black hair and two green eyes. Nothing too special but the supervisor said he had a tattoo on his neck of some sort the last time he saw him. Click on that file actually.”

I pulled up old surveillance footage dated ten months ago and we watched as Mackey, who was a grainy blur, got into a silver BMW in the hospital parking lot. 

“Everything’s too fuzzy. I doubt anyone could clear this footage up.” 

“It’s more than what we had five days ago.” Chilton reminded me and I nodded. 

“What did Jack say to all of this?”

“He’s closing cases with Graham.” Chilton sneered Will’s name and I frowned, “He said to make you first priority on this case for now.” 

“...Well I can’t say I’m not a little excited at that.” I saved the files to my computer before giving Chilton back the drive, “I don’t want Lounds anywhere near my father. For now. She’s got her shit going wild at the moment online about everything, which is good still but we may need her for later to continue to draw Mackey out.”

“You think she may be connected to Mackey?” 

“She’s not that stupid.” I pointed out as Chilton packed up, “Annoying and slimy yes, but an accomplice to ruin her little job? No. Just keep her close but not that fucking close.” 

Chilton left shortly after with a few more jabs at my well being. I studied the profile Will had sent over and tried not to feel guilty about walking out on him in his classroom. We had only texted about him getting a profile for me but that was it. I picked up my phone and scrolled through the short messages before putting it away. 

Will’s profile was perfect. It fit right up with our therapist being the serial killer theory and Chilton’s new addition just further solidified it. Will was good, his empathy had sharpened and he had honed it down to being stunning art. 

Will had changed somehow, he wasn’t the super shy guy I had always known. This new Will Graham I was seeing...it was like he had been reborn or something. 

Still, it bothered me about the intimate details of the real crime when I was young. My father couldn’t have spilled his heart out to just anyone about the case and Jack had been the only other one that I knew of who had actually been at the crime scene. It was unnerving, to know someone was out there with the most secret part of my life. 

I downloaded the file to another USB and texted Jack to find out if he was back at his office. I needed someone to try and clean up the image for me, unfortunately, the tech guys hated me so using Jack was my best advantage. 

Igor the reply he was in his office so I grabbed my jacket and  locked my door behind me. I lit another morning cigarette as I walked across the BAU lots, nicotine mixing in the sky. I ignored the looks students and other employees gave me, luckily the reporters had been banned but I still felt like someone was looking at me through a lens. I paused in my step as I saw Alana walk out of Jack’s building, focused on her phone. We locked eyes as I moved past her but ignored her as she called out my name. If only my hatred for Alana could fuel a tiny city… 

Briefly I considered stopping by Will’s classroom afterwards, maybe to apologize. Jane was good company outside our set appointments but talking to my psychiatrist could only get me so far. Speaking of, he was supposed to come in today to help me. 

I kept to the walls of Jack’s building before knocking softly on his door. 

“Katherine.” Jack called me in and I stopped, staring wide eyed at the two men already sitting in his office. 

“Morning Jack, Will.” I felt my body relax as Will sat up to look at me, “ I have to pull rank on the tech guys so…” 

Will looked exhausted as he gave me a tired, tight smile before rubbing his eyes. Jesus, it looked like he had been up all night fighting sleep. The man next to him turned gracefully in his chair to me, I hadn’t even noticed him. He was attractive, ashen blonde hair and dark maroon eyes. I noticed the way his hands splayed out to Will on his chair, protecting Will. 

I raised an eyebrow and smiled politely. Interesting man to keep around Will Graham. 

“Where’s your badge?” Jack grunted, getting my attention back. 

“Still lost. Of course no one is helping push my request for a new one so now I just rely on my face to get me in places. Seen Tattlecrime yet?” I asked and Jack nodded as I tossed him the USB but stayed well away from the men, “I still suspect the psychiatrist my dad was seeing. Will’s profile and Chilton’s evidence in there completely solidifies it. My interviews yesterday also gave me a good grip on activity at the crime scene. I have an older couple coming in later to finish up with them.”

God, I felt like I was repeating myself over and over. I needed to keep more people in the loop. 

“We need more grounds than this to put out an APB for this guy.” Jack sighed as he flicked through the documents on his laptop. 

“I’m on the edge of something, I can feel it.” I spoke quietly, “Jane agrees with me, he thinks I should start looking at those with a lot of money in this city. He has to be operating with a lot of cash, storage containers like that also aren’t just bought on a whim. I think I should even extend to New York since that’s where he stole the identity.” 

At the mention of Jane’s name there was a collective groan from the two men seated beside me. I totally forgot they were there, so did Jack because he flinched. 

“I’m so sorry. Katherine, this is Dr. Hannibal Lecter. He has been helping me put together files since Will joined back on.” 

Dr. Hannibal Lecter stood up at his name, adjusting his suit and extending a hand out to me with a gentle smile. I physically shut down as his hand hovered there in the air, expectantly. My anxiety began to grip my heart as his hand drew closer through the air. 

“N-no.” 

Dr. Lecter looked offended before I caught myself. 

“I-I’m sorry. I just. I can’t touch people.” I explained and Dr. Lecter nodded in understanding and he lowered his hand. 

“My apologies Ms. Morrison. I believe Will mentioned that the other day. I must have forgotten.” His European accent threw me for a loop, “Pleasure to meet you.” 

“I’m sorry-“

“You’re fine, Katie sit down.” Will rolled his eyes as Hannibal looked between us. 

“No need to dismiss her Will, our work consumes us. She must have a lot on her mind.” The doctor did defend before sitting down. 

I looked away and took my seat next to Dr. Lecter as Will gave an annoyed huff. 

“Jane cleared you for fieldwork I heard.” Jack made conversation as he reviewed the footage, “And your gun request?”

“Jane wants a gun range test before he gives me that.” I shrugged then turned to Dr. Lecter, “Will says you know my psychiatrist?Patrick Jane?”

“I’ve heard of Patrick Jane and his therapy yes.” He nodded politely but I saw a shadow pass over his face. 

“You don’t agree with him either.” I laughed, “Well, that means two people in this room hate him with a passion then.”

I stood up, feeling Dr. Lecter’s gaze on my face but I stopped walking around when I looked at Jack’s own board. I plucked a photo from it. 

“What the hell is this?” 

“My case.” Will offered, coming to stand beside me and taking the photo gently but keeping his space, “The Chesapeake Ripper struck this morning.” 

“Well this reminds me why I’m not religious.” I muttered as I viewed the body on a makeshift cross of organs, “I’ve heard of this Ripper guy, all goriness aside this dude has been one of my favorite killers to read up on besides Bundy. Nobody can pin him down, it’s sick.”

“Please refrain from calling a mass murderer ‘sick’ as in good. The guy is deranged.” Jack snapped and I shrunk in my coat a little. 

“Just an opinion.”

“He’s an impressive guy to try to get to know.” Will joked and I smiled before watching him pin it back up, “He’s returned and he’s got a story to tell to the world of everything he’s been through.”

“And what’s he been through?” I asked. 

“From what I can see, he found someone.” Will’s eyes grew distant for a moment. 

It was times like this when I wished I could reach out and run my fingers over his, feel his muscles in his hand twitch as he smoothed the photo out. Will’s mind was a dark place, working for Jack never did him any good. But he was different now, maybe his mind wasn’t so scary for him anymore. I just wanted...I didn’t even know what I wanted. I felt my hand move to his own but I dropped it before I could make contact. 

“Ms. Morrison? Delivery.” There was a knock at the door and the four of us turned to see a security officer lead a tall man with curly blonde hair in. 

“Not so much a delivery as me seeking you out.” Patrick Jane smiled at all of us, his smile reached the crows feet around his eyes that complimented him well, “G’day Jack, good to see you again. Will Graham, pleasure. Oh, Dr. Lecter.”

The two therapists seemed to size each other up as Will and I watched them shake hands briefly. Dr. Lecter was a tall man as well. 

“Mr. Jane.” Was Dr. Lecter’s only response. 

“What brings you in today Jane?” Jack interrupted the staring competition between the two men. 

“Checking up, giving help.” Jane winked in my direction as I went to stand next to him, “You weren’t in your office.”

He stepped to shield me with his body between Dr. Lecter, I knew he was offering me comfort but it just felt stuffier in here with new tension. Jane was unethical in his therapy in some areas I admit, but he was respectful of my space. He was respectful of what I needed from him though lately he was starting to make me feel like he was trying to shield me from the world, not help me barrel through it. Jane was a rock in my life, something solid that I had been happy to have for the past several months.. It felt longer with him but I think that was just his loud Aussie personality. I was thankful for him. 

“I came to use Jack.” I explained. 

Hey .” Jack held up his hands in mock offense but Jane and I smiled. 

“You shouldn’t be going places alone Katie,  not with a killer recreating your childhood.” Jane chided gently, I saw Will roll his eyes and whisper something to Dr. Lecter who only gave a brief smile before a blank expression rested on his features. 

“She’s got people who can watch her back, Jane.” Will muttered, “You don’t need to pretend to care.” 

“Will, that was rude.” Dr. Lecter warned, “Perhaps it's best if Will and I left to finish interviews downtown again for the Ripper case.” 

“Leave!?” Will looked between me and Jane, “But he-“

“I need to head down to Zeller and Price anyways. I’ve got bodies to look at and talk to.” I interjected and Will folded his arms unhappily. 

“I’ll go with, for protection against the dead then..” Jane smiled and I bristled, he and Will were going to be a problem in the same room. 

“Katie-“ Will stood up and protested but Jane was already herding me away. 

“You realize that was a dick move.” I hissed to Jane as we made our way to the morgue. He shrugged. 

“Just keeping your best interests at heart, Katie.”  He reviewed the printed out copies Jack had handed him as we bounced ideas back and forth. 

I hadn’t been lying to Will when I said Jane was important, despite his weird therapy. Touch immersion, desensitization, he even went so far as to put me under but it was working. Exposure therapy was the next step but I wasn’t ready for that. At all. 

 I relied on Jane for a number of things, but it surely wasn’t like I was dependent on him in that way. He was a friend, the only one I allowed myself to have these days. 

I sighed as we stepped into the basement morgue and the smell of formaldehyde filled my nose. 

My therapist was my friend, how sad. 

“Back from the dead!” 

Jane and I jumped as a loud voice rang out once we stepped into a separate autopsy room. Brian Zeller was grinning as he and Jimmy Price were hands deep in a body...intestine...thing. 

“Hey guys, this is Patrick Jane.” I nodded and Jane raised a hand as he stayed by the door. 

“Hello. I’ll be right outside Katie.” He flushed green and walked off. Zeller raised an eyebrow. 

“He’s got a weak stomach.” I pointedly looked to the stomach they were in, “Clearly that’s not an issue here.”

“Hey Katz! Ghost Girl’s here!” Zeller shouted over his shoulder and I turned to find Bev walk out snapping gloves on. 

“You’re late.” She smiled and I stuck my hands in my coat pockets, “Come on, I just wheeled them out.”

She uncovered the family bodies and I took a deep breath as I slipped on my own gloves. 

No ghosts showed up. It was just me and the bodies. 

Breathe

“He didn’t kill them like an amateur, the eye bruising though concerns me. I would categorize them with our rape victims but there were no signs of that in the report.” I voiced, snapping gloves on and using a tool to poke at the stuff skin, “It’s like he was trying to keep their eyes open by force.” 

“That’s the only thing that’s different from your- the other case, I mean.” Beverly gestured to the woman’s face, “Four stabs same as the other case. Kids’ head looks similar too-” 

“We’re not accounting for the father or the daughter.” I stopped her and we both looked to the body bags that had remained zipped, “One single shot. Clean, mercy killing. How did she die?”

My phone rang and I put Jane on speaker. 

“I’m bored out here.” He spoke, “What's it look like?” 

“We have face masks, Jane.” Beverly offered as she wheeled the other carts over to me. 

“He acted with clinical accuracy. He’s got the amount of stabs right and even the placement of bodies. The only anomaly is the father and daughters death and some weird bruises.” 

“Perhaps he was trying to show you what should have happened to your father. Or what your father was going to do with you.” Jane offered. I nodded. 

“I thought the exact same thing. Why show me though? He could just come after me and have it be over with instead of trying to show me a story.” 

I paused as Will’s words rang through my head. 

“You don’t...you don’t think this is the ripper do you? I mean, trying to tell a story.”

“The Ripper is an expert,” Beverly interrupted , “This guy just started getting his act together. Besides all their organs are still here. We pulled fibers from the girls’ neck, it’s from a shoelace. There’s bruising to the back of her neck too where the lace snapped alot. He used multiple laces to kill her. So definitely not a mercy killing.”

Beverly moved the boys’ head to the side where some of his teeth had remained intact. Perfectly intact

“He left them untouched? The teeth I mean.” I added for Jane’s benefit, “He beat his head in and he left a portion of the teeth preserved.” 

“He was afraid you wouldn’t identify them.” Jane voiced and Beverly and I exchanged a look. 

“So he’s a caring serial killer?” 

“I’ve heard crazier. You catch up on Will’s Shrike case from when he first started back up a year ago?” She asked, I shook my head, “The dad was obsessed with his daughter leaving for college so he started killing girls that looked like her, and he ate them. He cared so much for his kid he literally ate other girls for her..” 

“That’s...Dahmer of him.” I frowned. 

“Will shot the guy ten times but Hannibal and him managed to save the kid. Got half her throat cut for her father’s actions, Will and Hannibal has basically adopted the kid afterwards. She’s at BSCHI now though, she snapped or something.” Beverly shifted focus again, looking at the girl’s body next to the mother, “So quick death for the dad but not for the rest. He was angry at them.” 

I moved to the girl, taking her in as I gently brushed dark hair away from her face. She looked like me at that age, tanned skin, freckles lining her nose. She was pretty, innocent and didn’t deserve to die. None of them did. 

“Price pulled a nine mill slug,” Beverly continued as Jane and her conversed over the phone, “Not an uncommon gun. He confirmed he killed them at the container though. Just let the blood leak out.”

“So you’re looking for a man smart enough to not have to drug a whole family but be able to convince the same family to get into a container with him.” Jane sounded like he was in awe. “What order did they die in?”

“Brother, mother, father and the daughter.” I answered. 

The room snapped, ice flooded my veins and death clogged my senses as I eyed the body of the girl as she began to open her eyes. 

Again. Not again. They didn’t need to speak to me today. Breathe. Just breathe. It wasn’t real. Let the body talk to you. 

The room got colder as she sat up and turned to me with dead, dull brown eyes. Beverly watched me carefully as I looked over the ghost of the girl. Naked body shining with unblemished skin. The only contrast was the bruising around her neck. 

“She’s here.”

“You seeing her now, Sixth Sense? You’re sure?” Beverly asked, the girl looked to her but Beverly couldn’t see. The girl nodded. 

“She says she was the last one.” I whispered as the girl looked back to me, “The killer let the father protect her before he shot him and strangled her. He had tried to blind the mother but she had kept struggling.” 

“Katie-“

“It was supposed to be me.” I whispered, Jane was silent on the other end of the phone, “I was supposed to be dead but for another reason.” 

Had my father planned to kill himself after he killed me? Jack had arrived on the scene and took him down all those years ago. Having Mackey around would be helpful now, my dad had to have expressed suicide for him to kill the father. I closed my eyes and sucked in a breath and when I opened them the girl was gone, just a dead body. 

Exhale. Breathe again. You’re alright. 

“I need to see the layout of the crime scene.” I snapped the gloves off and tossed them angrily in the trash can turning away from the bodies and hanging up on Jane. 

“They moved the container to the evidence garage. 038 I think.” Beverly offered as I nodded my thanks and walked out of the autopsy room, holding my breath. 

Once out of the morgue unit with Jane quick on my heels I collapsed on a bench outside and put my head in my hands. It was hot, too hot, I shrugged out of my jacket and Jane took it gently from where I tossed it besides me. 

“Who did you see?” 

“The girl. The daughter. I saw-Jane-“ 

“Deep breaths Katie, focus on people passing by. Listen to the sounds of their footsteps, feel the rhythm.” Jane relaxed and kept my jacket between us. 

I did, I watched students and employees feet pass by as I sucked in air. God, I needed another cigarette.

“Does this feel too easy?” I asked after a moment, able to focus again, “It’s like he wants me to know he’s doing this for me. Showing me what my future could have been.”

“Yet you don’t know what he looks like, one sided affection and a stolen identity. He wants your attention. Eating people is one thing, I do admit that, but to go to the lengths of purchasing a storage container all to impress you? Dropping it in the middle of nowhere? He’s smart.” 

“Storage company was a dead end, paid cash. No questions asked. The bodies, I know they’re telling me something.” I sighed, “The scratches on the mom’s arms for one.”

“She fought back.” Jane shrugged as he turned his face up to drink in the warm sunlight, “Let’s get to the container, get all this smell out of the way.” 

“Give me a second. I feel like my brain is throwing  me against a wall..” I gave a weak smile but Jane nodded and remained still as he basked in the sunlight, “Do you miss Australia much?”

“I miss the heat. It’s not warm enough here for me, but I like where I’m at. What I do.” He opened his eyes and gave me a wink, “‘Course I miss the ‘roos and the barbie where the grog is cold and the Sheila’s are easy.”

“You’re a fucking jerk.” I laughed and he smiled, “Never do that again, I can’t take the accent that heavy.” 

“You got it sheila. Come on.” He tossed my jacket on my lap and I followed him. 

—-

Thirty minutes later found us in the middle of a still gorey tank, standing in the middle of death and fear. Every blood spatter and stain screamed at me as I breathed through my mouth, I just needed a moment with no ghosts. That’s all I asked for. 

Unfortunately I never get what I want. 

The floor was still stained red. The walls were still splattered save for thin, single swipes the forensic team had ran a cotton swab through. I took in a deep breath through my mouth and looked around me again, laying the bodies out in my mind. Jane stood off to the side, napkin held to his nose but otherwise unaffected, content to watch me.

“You said he got the details wrong.” Jane broke the silence as I listened for sounds no alive humans could make.

“He flip flopped the entire kitchen; walking in there, the kitchen would be on the right, not the left.”

“Pretty big detail to mess up on.” 

“It threw me off for a second. It got me thinking, they don’t know me as well as I thought they did. So it’s someone I know, but not that well.” I looked back to Jane who was weighing the words in his head, “Plus with what you said it’s like he’s trying to date me or something.” 

“Killing for love is the most common motive.” Jane looked over the wreckage and dried up blood all over the walls.

He seemed to have come to a conclusion by the way his eyes widened for a brief second before he swallowed, releasing a shuddering breath.

“Katie, whoever he is, he doesn’t want to just bring up the past, this man...he wants you in every way. He’s starting at your heart and he’ll climb out your throat.”

“He won’t get a chance to get near me.” I responded, but Jane was right, “I can handle being single Jane, I’m not gonna jump at the first guy who comes up to me. I can’t. If he knows me as well as he thinks he does then he knows love and a relationship aren’t in my future anytime soon.”

The murders, the potential for more murders was just a taste test for whoever this was...and what surrounded me after my parents and brother died, my killing background was a fucking feast.

“Have you hooked up with anyone recently?”

“What? Jane, god, I’m not discussing my sex life with you. You’re not even my therapist right now you’re off the clock.”

“I meant it as a way of saying this person could be targeting things close to you.” Jane laughed as we walked out of the container and threw our soiled booties and gloves away, “Unless, there is someone I don’t know about all of a sudden…?”

“You and I both know having sex with anyone anymore isn’t possible. I can’t even touch a guy let alone let one kiss and fuck me.”

“Katie. Language.” Jane frowned as we stepped outside in the warm sunshine again.

“Sorry. No, I haven’t.”

We were interrupted by Will shouting my name from across the lot, walking over to us with Dr. Lecter in tow. Jane groaned and I elbowed his side as Will slowed down and fixed his glasses.

“Be nice. He doesn’t seem that bad.” 

“You have no idea who he really is.” Jane muttered but Will interrupted before I could open up that can ofsubtle insults.

“The bodies, the happy face and the details in your kitchen.” Will focused on me, “He goes by obsession, he wants to be in your shoes and your fathers. To kill and be scared.”

“Double trouble.” I frowned, “We’ve figures out he's in love with me if that helps.”

“He finished his artwork for you, a reimagining of a snapshot of your life.” Dr. Lecter walked forward, holding his jacket casually over one arm, “He took his time. I would say love is not what he feels towards you, he is the fire that burns down the house and engulfs those who are inside without a thought.”

“My life’s in danger, not something that’s new to me.” I shook my head, I noticed Jane and Dr. Lecter were having a staring battle again. 

“Of course you’d laugh, you don’t give a shit about what happens to her.” Will hissed. 

“Will!” I held up my hands in between them, Will backed up immediately from the potential of me touching him but Jane remained standing, smiling cruelly down at Will.

“Thank you for your time here, Will. I’ll take what you said into consideration, I’ve got my own case handled pretty well though.”

“You don’t even have your gun back.” Will hissed, Dr. Lecter put a hand on his shoulder as Jane made a move to block me again.

“I’m working on that, first of all.”

“Please, Will. Katherine. This isn’t the time for arguments, nor is it the place to be fighting.” Dr. Lecter then looked pointedly at Jane, “I’m sure Jack can help figure this all out.”

“Okay no, first off you can fuck off from my murder.” I dropped my hands and Will frowned.

“Your murder?”

“I think if someone kills in my family’s name, that makes it-”

I was cut off by my phone ringing, Chilton. I turned my back on the three men and took the call, Chilton’s cheerful good afternoon wasn’t worth it.

“Your father’s asking to see you.” Chilton sounded smug about that, “Says he wants to talk in a room.”

“Talk?”

I looked back to the holding center where my killing container was waiting for me. Not the future, that was the past. I could picture myself in that little girl’s place though, so easily.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can.” I hung up the phone and stared at the FBI buildings in the distance for a second.

“Katie?” Will was right in front of me, blue eyes shining and just like that, the bitterness was gone and it was just us.

“He wants to talk with me. My dad. Chilton said he’s been asking for me.”

“You’re not going?” Will questioned and even the therapists raised a brow.

“I have to, He may be able to tell me more information.” I looked back to Will who was watching me softly.

“I can come with you.”

I felt the pull of my hand to his, but I let it drop back to my side uselessly as the cold air sent a breeze through the space between us.

“Just you.”

—-

My father had a shiner from the other day where he had gotten tackled by Barry in the asylum underground. It didn’t seem to bother him as he chatted about nothing to the room. 

 He was chained down to the floor, the only thing he had enough movement for was reaching for his water bottle and setting it back down on the table across from where Will sat.

My dad didn’t even seem to notice I was there anymore, I had huddled myself away in the farthest corner, he just studied Will.

“Special agent, huh? You special like my girl?”

“I’m nothing like Katie, and I hope she never becomes me. She’s her own person.” Will answered and my dad laughed, leaning back in his chair and kicking a leg out as far as he could.

“Well, Will Graham-”

“We’re not here for Will.” I cut in and my father sighed.

“No, but you brought him in anyway. The man that shot and killed the Minnesota Shrike.”

“So Bev wasn’t lying, you actually did kill someone.” I looked over Will again before I walked up and slammed my hand on the table, “Will isn’t here to be ogled at, you asked me to come and I came to listen. I have some questions myself so I’d rather get this over with.”

“No.”

“No?” I looked over the smug face of my father.

My dad has always been a big guy, working in construction before pushing papers after he ruined his back, he had been in good shape. But being in prison he looked like an average fifty year old man who liked his small cubicle. He still terrified me.

His hands were calm in his lap, hands that could have killed me when I was a kid...the hands that cut and tore into my brother’s-

“You’re going to listen to me first.” my father demanded, “First of all, I’m telling you what I want to because I don’t need you on this case. Let this shit go, it’ll end quick if you don’t get on the case.”

“If you’re going to tell me yet again that I was really the one who killed mom and Reese then this is useless.”

“I’m telling you that my therapist, Mackey, is the one who’s doing this all.”

“We knew that.” Will broke in, arms folded as I stood looking down at my father next to him. My dad shook his head.

“You don’t understand, he sought me out after I broke out and came to you,  he planned this. He got close to me because he wanted you, this has been two years in the making. Finding me, getting to you. It’s easy to think you know someone when everyday that’s who you’re talkin’ about.” 

Will grunted as if to say ‘I told you so’ but my dad didn’t react to that one. I closed my eyes for a moment, allowing the information to absorb into my head.

“You attacked Mackey, why?”

“He told me he was going after you, that he had everything he needed to get close to you.”

“What did he look like?” I asked and my father’s face dropped.

“I don’t know, with all the medications they have me on my memory has gone right out the door. If only I could take in the world like you do, I’d never forget his face.”

“You’d think as my father, you wouldn’t forget it anyways.” I snapped and he immediately stopped smiling. 

“I know your name.” he turned his attention back to Will, “She mentioned it in a letter once, only once. The only letter I ever got while you were away in college.”

I remembered the letter I sent, it had been on Christmas break and I was writing about my classes and my new friend, Will.

“I still have it, most of what you read isn’t legible, pencil, but the name Will still stands out on the note. Who would have thunk you’d meet your college love in the field of serial killers?”

“Will, can you…?”

“I’ll get some water.” Will nodded and left the interrogation room. I sat down across my father, folding my hands on the metal table.

“Will can see how people are killed, what the killer feels and what he may do next. He can look at someone and know what they want to do, we got close in college. Everyone thought we were freaks anyways.”

“It’s good to have friends like ourselves, out of the box.” My father smiled softly, “Better to have people that love us and accept us for what we are. You can see dead people and he can see how they died, match made in FBI.”

“What did you want to tell me about Mackey that you haven’t said?” I looked down at the table and my dad collected himself.

“Mackey told me he had an office somewhere, close to Roanoke.”

“Roanoke?” my head popped up, “That’s where the first scene was, bit of an easy reach for him. He’s definitely gone by now.”

“Katie-”

“He must be staying close then especially if I’m the main focus.”

He wants you in the most perverse way.

“Katie, he’s killed again, you just haven’t found the bodies.”

“What?” I looked back at my dad, halfway out of my chair and getting ready to phone Jack.

My father pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket, he slid it across from me and I opened it softly with a pencil. 

Four dates, four different sets of times. Clean, neat handwriting but nothing out of the ordinary.

“Mackey’s things flew all over the place when I slammed his head into the table for going after you. I’ve kept it hidden on me. Chilton isn’t the best security enforcer. I didn’t think anything of it until that red headed reporter came in the other day asking why I killed people.”

“He has it all set out.” I reached back and banged on the glass, Will walked into the room not even thirty seconds later, “The location and times, we found them. He had it mapped out completely.”

“He thinks he’s above the law.” 

“So he rips the files, drops his date manifesto and then what?” I asked.

“Everything he’s doing is for you.” Will whispered. 

“Wait! Katie!”

I stopped and looked back at my father who was trying to stand, useless against the restraints locked on his skin. I felt something tug in my chest as a wave of pure panic ran over his face.

“Please, be careful. Mackey...he’s crazy.”

“Let the warden know he was at his best behavior today.” I called I the officers behind the glass before Will and I walked out of the room. 

Will phoned Jack as I texted an update to Jane. Jack set out vehicles immediately to the locations on the papers so Will and I collapsed in his car for a second. 

I smiled for a second to myself as Baltimore State Hospital loomed over us. Will noticed and moved to sit up.

“What?”

“Smells like dogs in here.” I buckled in as Will started up the car and pulled out, “This is a nice ass car. I miss my old Jetta.”

“Yeah well, technically it was a birthday gift, don’t ask.” He waved off my arched eyebrow. 

“Is Will Don’t Look At Me Graham embarrassed about Alana?” 

“I-Alana? No we-we aren’t dating. We actually never did…” Will didn’t look at me as the road tumbled beneath us, “She was never interested in me like that completely Katie, she told me that to my face.”

It was silent. I let everything sink in. My heart dropped and now it rose with what he said before it dipped down into sadness again. 

“Alana wasn’t the only reason why I didn’t get in contact with you, Will. Just, please know that.”

“You don’t have to explain it to me. Just don’t lie to me, I can’t handle people lying to me and trying to let me down easily with shit.” 

“Since when did I ever spare your feelings?” 

“You and Bev both.” Will groaned, “We've got thirty until we get to where the next kill is supposed to be at. It’s really close.”

“We?” I looked to Will who ignored my gaze on purpose, “Will, I can’t ask you to be on this case with me. You have your own things to deal with, I shouldn’t have even asked for your help in the first place. That was selfish-”

“It’s nice.”

Will interrupted and I waited.

“It’s a nice break from the killings I see everyday with the Ripper, I feel like I’ve slipped into bed with him now.” There was a gleam in Will’s eye at that before he shifted, “This is new, interesting. It’s a nice change of pace, plus I spend too much time with Hannibal anyways it’s nice having someone else to talk to.”  

The late afternoon sun shone on us as we drove through the freeway. It was warm and nice and Will Graham was next to me. All I wanted to do was run my fingers through his hair even if it burned me alive.

“Our therapists probably aren’t happy we’ve been gone so long.” I smiled instead and Will cleared his throat.

“Hannibal’s actually back in his office here in Baltimore, do you mind if we stop by so I can grab something from him?” 

“Yeah, it’d be interesting to see where that dude lives, he reeks of old school money.” I paused before crossing my arms, “You killed someone. That’s the second time I've heard it.”

“Yes.”

“Who was Hobbs? The Shrike?”

“He killed and ate young girls, stuck them on antlers. All because his daughter was leaving for college.” Will spoke softly.

“Bev gave me a run down, you seem more at ease with death now. You killing someone was something I thought I’d never hear.”

“It doesn’t bug you?”

“I’ve shot people in the line of duty before, Will. I’ve also never had any reason to believe someone wanted to hurt me.”

“Your psychic gig.”

“Being over hypervigilant doesn’t have a fun ring to it. Besides, it sounds like a crack job when said out loud.”

“I can see Jane’s helping build your confidence.” Will scoffed and I laughed, real laughter that came bubbling from my chest that even Will looked surprised at my outburst.

“Jane’s not that kind of therapist...fortunately, or unfortunately depending on who you ask.” 

“He stares at you.”

“Just because he stares at me and finds me attractive doesn’t make him a creep, Will. I know where my lines are, trust me with them.”

“Should I bring up the rebel boyfriends in college then, or is that phase-”

“Okay, shut up, shut up.” I laughed and Will smiled, “What’s Dr. Lecter like then? He looks at you too you know, why spend so much time with the good Doctor?”

“Hannibal.”

“Well, aren't you two on a first name basis already.” I teased, Will seemed to blush under the sunlight.

“I’ve heard Jane call you by your name...you call him Jane. Not even his first name.”

“Professional line remember? I have a feeling it checks him up a bit,”

“Why continue seeing him when you know he wants to sleep with you in the end anyways? I’m surprised you’re not more uncomfortable with that fact alone.” Will glanced my way but all I could think about was the way Hannibal’s eyes traveled over Will when I stood close to him.

“Jane helps me, believe it or not. My PTSD is pretty much non-existent or at least it has been for a couple of months. No nightmares, no more blacking out.”

Still see dead people though.

“What does he think of the case?” Will eventually spoke.

“Jane thinks it’s not good for me, he advises me to pull out and go investigate something else if I want to continue working as an agent. Another part of him thinks it’s good for me, facing my past and all.”

“He thinks it’s good for you?”

“About as good for me as you and your empathy are good to Jack.” I muttered and Will frowned at that.

“I had encephalitis last year;  Hannibal, when he was my unofficial therapist, helped me with overcoming it besides the basic trip to the hospital. I was hallucinating, losing track of time and sleepwalking. A Lot. he pulled me away from the murders, from Jack and helped me get better by distancing myself from it all.”

“Seems like a good guy.” 

“He’s different. He’s good.” Will nodded, “He treated me, housed me when I couldn’t tell the difference between reality and nightmares anymore. He helped me take down the Red Dragon and took a knife to the gut for me when Abigail Hobbs tried to kill him.” 

“The Shrike girl tried to kill you guys? Bev said you guys adopted her and she just snapped.”

Will sighed and the world seemed to weigh down on him. 

“We did. She was under Hannibal’s care for a long time, I was still suffering from the encephalitis so really all of it is a blur. I wasn’t myself, I wasn’t who I am now. I wasn’t strong enough to protect Abigail from her mind and how she thought of Hannibal and I. She had gone to stab me, claiming it was my fault, her father died. Hannibal took the knife for me and spent months in the hospital recovering.”

“That’s insane. Will, I’m so sorry.”

“We visit her occasionally in the hospital. Just to check up on her. The last I heard, Freddie was in the process of writing chapter six of her life.” 

“I guess doing this crap is all we know how to do then. Death just can’t evade us. This Ripper stuff? How is that going?” 

“Always a few steps behind. We know he’s in love with someone, Hannibal has pointed us in the direction of a few people he may have come in contact with.”

“Sounds like Hannibal and you are quite the duo.”

“Symbiotic relationship, is the more accurate term for it. The man sucks the life out of everything sometimes.” Will smiled at that, “You’d like Hannibal more than Jane as a therapist. You know, you acted differently around your father today.”

“It’s like my emotions forgave him but my mind was screaming at me to not trust him.” I accepted the diversion in topic and gave a frustrated groan, “I wanted to shoot him and stay in the blood until it covered me, I wanted to know what it felt like standing over all the bodies after he killed them. To know what he felt as he murdered his own god damn family. He kept insisting the other day that it was all some fault in my genes or some crap. That everything about me was a mental illness. I keep thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be all that bad to just give in and kill him or something. Fucked up right? ”

“No.” Will shrugged and I looked to him.

“What do you mean, no?”

“I killed a man that almost murdered his child, it bleeds in every now and again how it felt. After being in his mind for so long, I felt what he felt and it’s…almost calming now. He’s dead. He can’t hurt anyone. I took the worst parts of him away and dissolved them myself. If you asked Hannibal, he’d say that that killing what makes us afraid gives us power. Why be scared of the dark when it could be scared of you?”

“If only our conversations were as normal as everyone else’s.” I rolled my eyes as Will pulled us into downtown, Maryland, “The point of therapy is to figure out what’s wrong with us, not encourage the bad behavior, Will.”

“We already know what’s wrong with us, Katie, we have since we were young, just takes the right person to show us it’s normal to feel like that.”

“If you didn’t trust Hannibal what would you do? If finding another therapist was too much work, having to convince a whole new brain that I don’t need meds I just need some hardcore screaming to shut me the fuck up.”

“We don't talk like that it’s...conversations in different rooms.” Will explained as we pulled into a large parking lot.

“Must be nice having a friend like that.” I remarked, stepping out of the car before he could reply. 

I was impressed as we walked up the pathway and into Dr. Lecter’s waiting room. This place was like a museum.

“Holy shit, he can’t make a living just being a psychiatrist and working as a profiler for you guys can he? Jane’s place is nice but this is some serious cash.”

“He’s pretty wealthy, I’ve gone with him to some operas here and there.” Will smiled briefly before knocking, thirty seconds later the door opened in a graceful, clean swish, “He’s Lithuanian old money.”

“Will, Katherine, come in.” Dr. Lecter smiled at us and stepped aside for us. 

He totally looked like an opera type. I walked around his office slowly as Will and he talked softly for a few seconds. The hand around Will’s waist made me raise my eyebrow in suspicion,but he and Dr. Lecter seemed perfectly content with the physical affection. 

Maybe I was wrong about Will after all. I watched Will climbed a ladder up to the second story where a library loft was. The shadows from the red, white, grey and yellow curtains cast him in a warm summer glow although the weather outside said differently. I leaned against one of the windows, closing my eyes for a brief second as I took in the sounds of downtown Baltimore. 

“How is your case?”

I allowed a beat to pass before I opened my eyes to find Dr. Lecter holding out a glass of champagne to me. Dr. Lecter seemed to move like liquid around me, one moment I was by the window and the next I was sitting down on one of the chairs in the middle of the room.

“It’s...proving to be more difficult and more clear at the same time.” I sipped the drink as Dr. Lecter brought his chair closer to mine, the proximity to him...wasn’t terrible.

“How so?”

“Are you asking as a therapist?” I smiled over the lid of my glass and Dr. Lecter seemed to think for a moment before taking a sip from his own in response.

I looked up to see Will still walking around and looking through books, mumbling to himself. 

“Would you prefer your therapist to ask you these questions instead?” Dr. Lecter asked, I shrugged.

“I get it, you don’t like Jane either. I thought nobody knew him here.”

“I was unaware he had moved his focus to psychiatry but I know his name and a bit of his reputation.”

“Anything bad?” 

“Everyone has a stain on their resume, unfortunately.” Dr. Lecter’s gaze drifted to Will before snapping back to me, “How do you find Dr. Jane’s therapy? I’m asking as a...mutual acquaintance.” 

“Or maybe a competitor.”

He raised a thin brow at that and I saw a twitch of a smile on his lips. 

“I can see where Will developed his attitude in college.” 

“On the contrary, I got it from him.” I looked down at the bubbles in my drink, “Jane is good, I enjoy it. Your place is much nicer though, Jane’s office doesn’t have as much antique stuff in it.”

“Objects are sentimental to us. They remind us of a happier time, or a sad time.” He rapped a finger on his chair as Will coughed from above, “Some can even leave scars.” 

“Some objects can be valuable, but what’s the point of putting them on a pedestal for everyone to gawk at? If something holds value to me at least, I wouldn’t want everyone looking at it. Trying to copy it. It would lose its value.” 

“Are you referring to something in mind?” Dr. Lecter asked, the image of dead children burst into life in my head for a brief second. 

“Like you said. Scars.” I set the drink down, hands shaking as the Doctor looked me over with a gaze similar to the sun, “Can I ask how long you’ve known Jane?”

“Of course. Less than a year but he frequents certain places I go.”

“The opera?” I smiled. 

“Will has been telling tales of me in my absence I see.” Dr. Lecter pretended to be visibly upset about that, I laughed, “No, unfortunately. He donates to a charity I myself donate to.” 

“You could just ask him yourself.” Will reminded as he came down the ladder effortlessly. 

I watched him straighten his clothes, taking care to fold his cuffs back twice before straightening his belt. I looked back to find Dr. Lecter looking at me blankly. 

“Did you find what you were looking for?” Dr. Lecter finally turned his gaze away. 

“No, maybe the book is in my classroom. I know I saw it recently.”

“Are you two in town for long?” Dr. Lecter stood up and collected the glasses. 

“This was a detour, Will said so.” I stood up as well, “We were heading back to Quantico to wait for Jack pretty much.” 

“There’s a restaurant right around the corner, I would welcome the company, the both of you.” 

“Hannibal, she-“

“Have you two eaten?” The Doctor looked at us and I had the feeling of a kid caught doing something bad. 

He stared at our guilty expressions and gave an exasperated sigh. Before I could say anything he had grabbed his coat and slipped it on. Fucking hell was everything this dude owned expensive as fuck? I’m pretty sure that was Versace. 

I jumped as my phone began to ring, I stepped out into the hall to answer it as the two men waited. 

“Jane?” 

“You’ve been gone an awfully long time. What happened?” 

I went back over the details of my father’s visit and Jane remained quiet throughout. I could hear Will and Dr. Lecter chatting still, I could feel my anxiety building as I tried to rush through the conversations to not make them wait anymore. 

“Well where are you now?” 

“In Baltimore at Dr. Lecter’s office with Will. We told Jack and now I’m being dragged to a stuffy restaurant.”

“Come eat with me here, I’ve got a traditional Aussie dish waitin’ for you.” Jane offered, “And there’s nobody here to bump into.” 

“Can you come get me? Will and him are still here and I don’t want to bother them. I could use a ride if you’re close by.” 

“I’ll have a cab sent for you, I’ll leave the doors unlocked downstairs” Jane offered, I sighed in relief. 

Jane’s office wasn’t far from here, 30 minutes west is all I had to endure instead of eating in a stuffy restaurant. 

Judging by the outfit the good doctor was wearing a salad probably cost more than my apartment’s rent for a year. I turned back and found the two men waiting patiently. 

“Uh, I got a call from Jane. I have to meet him at his office, sorry I can’t make lunch.” I felt guilty just saying it out loud. Will frowned, “Also, you know, any place that has a high risk of me getting touched is gonna be a hard no from me.”

“You do not have to apologize, I admit it has slipped my mind every time I see you that you suffer from that. Please, allow me to cook dinner for you then, private accommodations, one day this week?” Dr. Lecter apologized sincerely. 

“I...I’ll think about it?” I replied which seemed to satisfy them both, “go and have lunch Will, I’ll update you later. Besides, I only eat once a day remember?” 

“Once a-“

“Don’t even fight her on it, shes been like that forever.” Will shook his head as Dr. Lecter looked at me, horrified at that, “C’mon. We’ll wait with you outside.” 

—-

Will and Hannibal ate in comfortable silence in the restaurant Will still couldn’t pronounce. The meat was digestible but their diets had evolved for more than just beef and lamb. Hannibal gazed at the man across from him, so lost in thought that he hadn’t touched the wine in front of him. 

“As much as I love watching you think, my love,” Hannibal spoke softly, “I believe you’ve thought enough today.”

“Sorry, sorry.” Will scrubbed a hand over his face and the stubble on his face, “I haven’t stopped thinking about her.”

“Yes, I’ve noticed.”

“Not like- stop trying to do that. I’m married to you for fucks sake.” Will glared but Hannibal didn’t change his expression. 

“She’s giving you a distraction, so much so that you’re mind drifted even last night while we were dealing with Mr. Dowd.”

Will felt the sting of the punishment Hannibal had given him when they got home from almost slipping up during the kill. 

“Is she something we should be discussing, dear one?” Hannibal asked over the his wine, Will looked away. 

“Not like that.” 

“She’s important to you. I wouldn’t be a very good husband if I didn’t know your friends now would I?”

“You don’t get to kill her.” Will suddenly warned, Hannibal smiled cruelly as Will’s darkness made his blue eyes turn black, “She’s not yours to kill.”

“And she is yours?” Hannibal set his glass down carefully.

 The static between them zapped as their blood thirst filled the cannibals. Will thought about it for a moment before he slumped in his seat. 

“What was your observation of her then?” 

“Well, she certainly got into it with the killer” Hannibal resumed his meal, “Her psychiatrist will be a problem for us.” 

“Jane? How? He’s an abusive asshole who keeps hitting on her and harassing her. He should be the next damn meal.” Will lowered his voice as people flitted their eyes to the two men in the corner of the room, “We could make it happen.”

“Do not get ahead of yourself.” Hannibal warmed gently, “Jane and I had a run in quite a few number of years ago.” 

“How?”

Hannibal gave him a pointed look. Will all but flailed his arms in the air. Instead, he pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes shut tight. 

“You’re fucking kidding me. He knows who you are.”

“We were after the same man, simple misunderstanding. He got away with some scars and a broken femur. Of course back then, he was known by another identity.” Hannibal shrugged, Jane had been interesting back then. 

“His kills?” 

“Revolve around women, although this is something I’ve never seen or would have expected from him.” Hannibal mused, “Back then, he was a hitchhiking murderer in Colorado. I would like to find out how he got here, he was as messy as you were when you first began.”

There was a bear of silence before Will’s eyes widened in realization at Hannibal. 

“He’s the one doing it.” Will choked, the air seemed to vanish from his body as his heart sunk, “Oh my god, he’s her killer.” 

“Will, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Hannibal’s hand enclosed over his husbands wrist like a vice. Stopping him from getting up, “It is not our business to interfere in his plans for her.” 

“His-my-the fuck?!” Will sputtered. Hannibal sighed and raised his finger for the check. 

If he was going to act like this then the conversation would be better in the car. Will remained silent as he fumed and watched Hannibal hand over his black card to the waiter before he felt the click of his jaw from too much tension. 

Hannibal only spoke when Will was in his seat, buckled up and looking like he was one breath away from stabbing him...or a good fuck,

 Hannibal briefly wondered if tinting his windows one more shade would be too suspicious. 

“Lounds in her articles, mentioned that she may also suffer the same disorder her grandfather had.”

“She had a lot of issues detaching herself from whatever she felt from the dead people.” Will relented and sunk against the seat. 

They remained in the parking lot, Hannibal felt Will pick at his cuffs before Hannibal offered his hand for comfort. 

“She’s has that paranormal stuff happen to her all her life. She couldn’t stop seeing them, she said it got so bad at one point her family was going to send her away. Somewhere.” 

“The study of the MOAO gene as well as the CDH13 genes are considered more pseudoscience than real fact.” Hannibal explained. 

“What?” 

“Predisposition to violence. Much like how your encephalitis allowed you to skip time and found yourself covered in evidence.” 

“She wouldn’t hurt a fly. She’s just...kind of sarcastically aggressive.”

“I don’t believe we have to worry about Jane hurting your friend.” Hannibal rumbled the car to life and they pulled away from the lot, heading back to the office, “I do hope to rectify her situation, the fact that she eats only once a day is...offensive.” 

“Hannibal…” Will warmed, “She’s not like us.” 

“Is she not? Tell me about her touch.”

“It happened after the murder, I haven’t touched her in years. The last time I did was when I pulled her from that fucking basement and hauled her outside so she wouldn’t die.” 

“She tried to kill you?” Hannibal asked, “Her file read that her father kidnapped her.”

“She didn’t know. She thought I was her dad, she thought I was her mom, she thought I was a lot of things. She was protecting herself.” Will looked outside. 

“KATIE ITS ME!” WIll had screamed, wrestling with the girl off the metal table. 

The basement wS dark and smelled like fear, Will’s glasses slid off his nose as she thrashed o the table. Held down by restraints as her wide eyes stared through him. 

“I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you again if I have to! You’re not taking me away! You’re not taking me away!” She screamed as she and Will battled. 

Will had dragged her out, heart stammering as she screamed like she was being gutted the moment he grabbed her by her neck and pulled. She had been screaming for mercy, to stop seeing them. To stop seeing what she had done to them. 

It had been one of the worst nights of his life. She had gotten him pretty good, he had faint scars on his forearms from her gouging him still. 

It wasn’t the physical consequence that  pushed them apart. It was what happened afterwards. 

The fall from the FBI once it was made public she was the Happy Man’s daughter was only a small portion of it. Will had been undecided between wanting to pursue something real with her and continuing his...whatever, he had with Alana back then. Will understood her fleeing, how could he not, he was cursed to understand everyone. 

She was heartbroken, scared of people and the touch of a hand on skin. She had been broken, seeing the ghosts of who even knew. 

“You love her.” Hannibal commented, listening to Will as he told him the tale of the broken girl. 

“I did. She was all I had back then.” WIll looked exhausted, “I always hoped she got better and seeing her now, seeing with my own eyes that she’s doing really well for herself? Everything is coming back.” 

“I admit, the feelings of jealousy are sliding their way through my blood.” Hannibal’s hands on the wheel tightened and Will laughed. 

“You and I waited forever to get where we are.” WIll reassured him, “I love you, I love who I am and what we have because of you. Our dogs at home. An actual home.” 

“Mylimasis, you light my heart ablaze with a single word.” Hannibal leaned over and tangled fingers in rich curls. 

Will’s breath hitched in the silence of the car, he closed his eyes as Hannibal’s lips brushed his own. 

“You are only human. I have you to sate my soul until the end darling. You are protective of her when you shouldn’t be.” 

“I know.”

“She is exactly like us William.” Hannibal’s hand tightened in his hair and Will’s eyes shot open before he gripped the seat hard, “A nudge in the right direction could take care of our problems for us.” 

“We’re not manipulating her.”

“Who said manipulation? I believe you’ll find your dear friend more willing than you realize.”  Hannibal’s lips brushed his fluttering eyelashes. 

“All that from a fifteen minute observation?” 

“You know that’s all I need.” Hannibal whispered. 

There was a whoosh and Will was alone in the car as Hannibal chuckled to himself before he started across the lot. Will cursed and shot out of the car, adjusting his pants as they grew tighter around him.

“What are you talking about?” Will growled, Hannibal just smirked. 

“Patrick Jane poses a threat to our lives, he’s a threat to hers as well.” 

“Turning her against Jane isn’t going to be easy.” Will reminded him, Hannibal agreed as they walked into the office, “And I’m not going to try and pretend I’m in love with her to get her from him.”

“Would you truly be pretending I wonder?” Hannibal asked and Will looked away. 

“I’m not myself when I’m not with you.” 

“And with her?”

“Why are you pressing this so goddamn much? Are you that fucking jealous? I’ve killed with you-MARRIED. WE. ARE. MARRIED.” 

“She could be what we did not have with Abigail.” Hannibal barely whispered it as he looked down at the sketch on his desk.

Will’s shoulders slumped. Oh. This conversation again. 

In their time together, married and not, Will knew eventually they would want to extend their family to another human. The four dogs at home could only give them so much comfort. 

“Abigail and her are different. Abigail was raised that way, that’s all she knew.” 

“Yet your friend was raised on the ghosts of the dead. How does that make her any different?” 

Will thought about it for a moment. Hannibal gave his not-there-but-very-there smile before laying his coat on the chaise lounge chair and spread his legs. He crooked a finger in Will’s direction. 

“Now dear boy, I believe we have a bit of time before you’re called again.” 

Will grinned and walked to the serial killer. 

—-

 

Quantico  

 

“It’s none of your business who I choose to work with!”

“It obviously is if it’s detrimental to your health!” 

“Oh you think he’ll send me off the edge, Jane?” 

I spun to face the taller man in my office, pausing from rearranging strings on my new board. Jane was relaxed in my chair, spinning around slowly as he busied himself with stooping some tea for us. His jacket relaxed behind him on my chair, his level of comfort in my blank room always surprised me. 

To say that Patrick Jane wasn’t attractive would be a lie, which got me wondering how in the world Baltimore of all places, got to hoarding the attractive psychiatrists. Dr. Lecter for example could rival Jane...was he a pain in the ass like Jane was though? 

“I’m saying that perhaps Will Graham isn’t the best person to have back in your life right now.” Jane supplied, “I wish you would have told me instead of just inviting him on your case.”

“Oh, but conversing with the dead to get more clues is a good way to spend my time?” I motioned to the ouija board on my desk Jane has brought over.

 It was a gag gift to celebrate me getting my case, but still. 

“You’re still that thirteen year old girl in your head, darl. Still the college kid looking for a connection.” 

“What the hells that supposed to mean.” I glared as Jane set down the tea and pushed it towards me over the desk. 

“Don’t let your emotions tell you how to act, you’re smarter than that. Keep your health in check and everything will fall into place. I don’t want you exerting yourself because this is personal.” 

I took a deep breath and released it. It had been a long day, I didn’t need this right now. 

“So, you got the murder manifesto I hear?” Jane continued, changing the subject, “he had written all the dates and everything? What a mistake.”

“A surpassing mistake since it seems like he knows what he’s doing. He’s a smart guy obviously, why the hell would he keep a part on him? Memorizing isn’t hard.” 

“Crawford has units set up at all locations now?” 

“Everything is being staked, we have eyes on container shipments online and in town. He’ll have to get creative to get the next kill set up for me.” I mused, Sipping the tea as Jane propped his feet on my desk and frowned, worried, “What?” 

“You’re sure he’ll keep to the pattern, what if he figures out that you know about the locations?”

“Then we’re fucked but only a few people know about the location stuff, and now you.” 

“Have you figured out anything about the murders?” 

“His manifesto. The first was a bad re-enactment and he got some details wrong. My dad and I were dead in these scenarios so that takes my family life out of the equation for now.” 

I tossed Jane a copy of the dates and he flipped through them. 

“The dates aren’t random?”

“No. The length of it could span anywhere from having to do with my trial or the social shit I experienced afterwards. I hate to say it, but until I know what age he’s going to pin me up with next, I’d rather have a murder happen before I jump to a conclusion.” 

“Are you handling these...ghosts well then? Another body could make it worse for you.” 

“Quiet, you’re gonna give them ideas to drive me more crazy.” I joked, “I’m handling it. It’s handleable.” 

“Manageable.” Jane grumbled at my English before studying the map where I had pinned the supposed murder houses at, “These don’t make sense. They’re all over Virginia.” 

Jane pointed to a particular sticky tab. 

“This is the most important one?” 

“It’s literally just some field a couple miles from my house.” I shrugged, “I’ll have someone from the force with me starting tomorrow when I go home. I may ask Bev, she’s got a lot of guns.” 

“That's the next spot then.” Jane observed, “That’s a bit close to home. Who all knows about the dates?”

“Well my dad for starters, Will, Jack, you...probably Dr. Lecter by now. That’s about it.”

“Why would Lecter need to know?” Jane snipped, “He’s not on this case.”

“He and Will are profilers and he’s a psychiatrist too. It would help having him in the loop for a bit. Relax Jane, I’m not gonna trade you for the vampire.”

“Better not.” Jane pouted, “I don’t trust this manifesto anymore, he may know he’s lost it. It could change. I’ll follow you home, you’re not spending the night alone.”

“I’ll be fine for one night, Jane I don’t need protection.”

“You don’t even own a bird anymore, you don’t even have a fish how can you protect yourself if he comes for you?” Jane grabbed his jacket and his keys, “No arguing Katie.”

I frowned, having Jane stay over was out of the question. The possibility of him accidentally touching me was too much of a risk. But if Mackey came back, if Jane was right and Mackey knew where I was…

I looked at my phone, eleven at night. Maybe he was right. 

“Fine. You’re making me my coffee in the morning though.”

“Milk, sugar, hot choco and a sliver of coffee doesn’t count as coffee, Sheila.” He shook his head as we locked up my office and left. 

—-

Jane wasn’t all that bad in the end. I should have known better than to doubt the man that knew me inside and out for the better part of a year. 

He had watched me walk into my house and lock my door before he went down the road to check in with my neighbor. He then had come back and  made tea, a late night snack for us as I cleaned my apartment up and then settled down in my ratty couch and focused on the news. 

I sat myself down on the ground, stretching my legs out as I conversed with Bev online about the bodies. Nobody was getting sleep tonight it seemed. 

It was odd, having another person near me where I lived. I never had anyone over, Jane had been here a few times for house calls but that was about it. I smiled as I sipped the tea and relaxed, Jane’s and I first meeting was odd in itself anyways. 

“Tea? It’s like a warm hug.” Jane offered as I sat myself on his couch softly, his office was blocking everything from my mind I couldn’t focus on one thing. 

“I don’t. Don’t give me it.” I snapped, my clothes felt weird on me from being in a hospital gown for too long. 

“It’s here if you’d like it.” He set the mug down on his desk before walking in a wide circle around me before sitting in his seat, “Now Ms. Morrison. Let’s get crack on’ to it shall we? Maybe we can exorcise some ghosts in the process. For instance, if you see any right now tell them to fuck off, this is my time with you.”

I stared at the Australian at his bluntness. The images of flickering faces and bodies around this room seemed to disappear completely for a moment. The voices came back a moment later, whispers in the carpet and in my hair. But I nodded. He smiled wider. 

I looked up as Jane switched to the history channel and settled in for archaeology. 

I could bait myself for Mackey, draw him out that way. That wouldn’t work though, he had his masterpieces of murder in a can all planned out. If what my dad said was true, then this two year plan wouldn’t be spoiled by me throwing myself out for him. 

“Jane?”

“Yes?”

“Can you turn it to the end?” I sat up and pulled my hair up into a bun as Jane flicked to the white channel.

 Static blared over the TV as he flipped the volume all the way. I couldn’t hear him at all. I hated doing this to myself, but I needed answers. 

I grabbed ahold of the photos from the crime scene, gripping the film as I stared at the white static and let it drown me. 

“You’re in danger.”

The voice came through my ears before the sulfur began to choke the hell out of me. 

“Where is he?” I asked and looked around me, there were no ghosts or hallucinations. 

I could feel them though, someone else was here and they weren’t particularly happy about being dead and coming to me about it. 

LOOK.”

The TV shut off immediately and every single light in my house followed. I heard Jane curse, his reflection in the black abyss before me showed he had flinched from the sudden blackout.  It clicked back to life after a moment back on the news channel and my house tumbled to life again. 

“Anything, Cris Angel?” 

“He’s close, and that’s about it. Which can be taken in a thousand ways.” I groaned and laid down on the floor as Jane resituated himself and ran a hand through his hair. 

“As beautiful, smart and strong as you are you do freak me out a bit.” He admitted, “Katie, from a therapist's point of view, you’re perfect because you’re breakable. Just a crack and you’ll fall down and shatter. Someone who’s never been touched, someone who can break with just fingertips on the skin from what happened to you...he’ll waste no time in trying to get close to you.” 

“Alright then Patrick Jane.” I sat up, “How would you kill me then? ‘From a therapist's point of view.'”

“Any sane therapist wouldn’t. What you have, who you are is too valuable to lose...but from an outside perspective, I would tell you to just strap in for something painful and full of love.”

“You make no sense.” 

Jane laughed. 

“I meant that if he’s truly a psychiatrist then he’ll want to pick you apart, from his frame of mind he’s doing it out of love to protect you from yourself.” 

“Right, because I’m the one destroying myself not the haphephobia or the hauntings.” 

“Your attention to detail is good, but you’re focusing on the wrong ones.” Jane offered, “Don’t  ask why or when, perhaps ask who. We know he’s a friend of yours, somewhat, if you’d like I can start running background checks on your male friends?”

“What male friends, asshole?” I glared and he shrugged, I tuned him out as my phone buzzed from a text...from Will. 

There’s a dinner tomorrow night. Hannibal invited you and the Aussie, you said you’d do it. 

He has a name you know. He’s been helping tonight. 

He’s at your house!?

Relax, I don’t have a unit at my place yet. And I said I’d think about it. 

I turned back to the TV, god I really needed to sleep. 

“You think I’ll go willingly to him, don’t you?” I turned to Jane. He looked serious for a moment, “I’ll go willingly everywhere except my death, Jane.”

“Good. I won’t have to file a lawsuit for stupidity then for losing a patient.” He muttered, getting up and whisking the empty cups away. 

I fell asleep later thinking about the voice I had heard from the TV. I had recognized it. 

The voice had been mine. 


Chapter Text

It’s cold and dark in here, I was cramping and shaking and my jaw was creaking from how hard I was gripping it, god I couldn’t make a sound. My eyes saw nothing behind the popping stars in the black before me. My face was wet as I listened to the sounds outside the black hiding place I was in. 

Screaming. Hoarse screaming could be heard, I could hear my name. I could hear the blood I could hear-

The door slammed from somewhere upstairs in the house, I cried as the sound of heavy boots pounded in my veins. 

I’m floating, I had to be floating I couldn’t get out of the cupboard I wasn’t ready to die yet. There was a crash and light poured into the cupboard and my body was speared through the chest. The breath that left my chest froze me and I was pitched backwards into the dying darkness. 

Large hands grabbed my shoulders and blood flowed down my throat as my ribs cracked and broke, bent and suspended in mid air As the hands closed around my throat-

“Don’t fight me. You can’t fight me.” He whispered, my father jerked my face back and I felt the skin drip from my body as I clawed at my own chest. 

“Will?”

Blue eyes shone in blood red moonlight before black seeped out of Will’s head and leaked into the pores of my bones. 

“Katherine.”

Hannibal Lecter melted out of the black ink on Will’s skin and hovered above us like a ghost. He held my heart. 

He squeezed and I screamed. 

“NO!”

I sat up in bed, wrapped in white sheets and soaked in sweat. My heart pounded as sunlight filtered in through the window in my room, the clock glared at six a.m. I fell back against my pillow and breathed out, stretching my body out and stripping from the wet shirt. 

Nightmare. Again. Always the same one. 

There was a knock on my door and I managed to wrap myself in the sheet before Jane poked his head in, accompanied by the smell of coffee. 

“Sorry to wake you, Jack’s just arrived with Ms. Katz-Katie?”

Jane came in quickly and shut the door behind him. He sat on the edge of my bed furthest from me then placed a hand as close as he could. 

“I didn’t see his face this time, it was different.” I sighed, “Everything else was the same.”

“Was it my face again?” 

“No. It was...it was Will’s. And Dr Lecter’s.” I let the tension in my shoulders out as I popped my back. 

Jane remained silent on my bed, thoughtful as he pondered on it while I got dressed. I could hear Jack and Beverly conversing in the main room as I threw on clothes. 

“It’s not surprising.” Jane finally spoke as I slid on my boots, “You’re replacing an old nightmare and giving it life with faces that you’re scared of.”

“The last people I’m scared of are Will and Dr. Lecter.” I joked, Jane mumbled something under his breath before he walked out. 

“Jack, Beverly. What do I owe the visit too?” I asked as I walked into my main room where everyone was sitting. 

Jane placed a cup of coffee near me and winked when I raised an eyebrow in question. If Jack’s here I better be tasting hot chocolate in a cool ass second. 

Chocolate exploded on my tongue and I felt happiness warm me up until Jack opened his mouth to speak. 

“This place barely looks lived in, Katie.” Jack looked around the bare living room. 

“Half the time I was in my office, the hospital, his office or on the road. I don’t have time togrow attached to things here.”

“Morbid thing to say about a home.” Beverly remarked, “You don’t even have any pictures on the wall.” 

I frowned as Jane redirected the conversation about their mornings as he handed them fresh coffee as well. Four blank walls held up the ceiling; I had a TV, computer area and the kitchen and around the kitchen led into my bedroom. I didn’t need more than that. 

But after the hospital I couldn’t be in a room by myself without having panic attacks. 

“It seems that every time you walk through any door of mine you have bad news.” I muttered as Jack talked about the latest Ripper kill. 

“Will is certain that the Ripper is still trying to tell a story. All we know now is that he’s found someone and now there’s going to be a brand new beginning.” 

“I thought the new beginning stuff already happened.” I sat down, “What? I asked Will like a week ago about the your year long expedition to find these dudes.”

“Screw the Ripper and his lover, we’ve got your Happy Man again.” Beverly interjected angrily, “He was a day early. Three new bodies in a container at the last coordinate.”

“What?” 

My fingers felt numb and my tongue felt heavy in my mouth. 

“I-I-wasn’t it.” I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose, “I thought. They were. Guarded.” 

“Jack, I don’t even know where to begin.” Jane stood up, eye level with him. Suddenly my living room felt too small, “The amount of security issues I’m thinking about don’t even remotely cover the entirety of it.” 

“Well, the squad cars are there...the cops just aren’t alive in them.” Jack angrily responded, fists clenched and eyes narrowed. 

Oh fuck. Oh fuck, oh no. 

“We saw this though.” Beverly tossed me her iPad and I flipped through, “Someone in the force is working with her, there’s no other way to get the scoops she’s getting.”

It was Tattlecrime and on the second page was a photo collage of old crime scene photos from when I was thirteen, in the middle of the article was a photo of me. Young and covered in blood, bruises and had wide red eyes in the photo. 

“How the hell did she get ahold of the files?” 

“Your office was open this morning, janitor found Lounds snooping around about four a.m, she had snuck in after him and hid herself away in your closet. Janitor heard her snapping photos and scared her.”

The next article had a photo of my office map that had dots and points and string attached to it. I felt pure anger, I tossed the iPad on the couch and looked at my boots. 

“Lounds isn’t this stupid. She got paid to do this by someone big. Will was having her run her mouth to get the Happy Man to bite.”

“Well he bit alright.” Beverly folded her arms then turned to Jane, “Is she still  able to go to the crime scene and function?” 

“You said three bodies.” I stood up and pointed at Beverly, “You only said three.”

“Yeah, well including the cops it would have been five.”

“Make your point Katie, I have men I need to get back to their families.” Jack warmed as I ran to my computer station and pulled up my copy of the murders and my rough drafts from last night on the floor. 

“He made another mistake.” I smiled to myself, “He didn’t know about the cops. But Lounds has definitely been in contact with him there’s no other way to explain it.”

“How does Lounds fit into this?” Jack asked, “We don’t even know if she got paid off.”

“I don’t think she’d give him up even if you threatened her.” Jane voiced finally, “That woman protects her sources better than you protect your field agents, Jack.”

“We’re baiting each other..” I whispered, amazed and felt my breath leave me. 

I knew I was onto something. I closed my eyes for a brief moment and felt the hairs on the back of my neck slowly stand up. 

Jane watched me quietly as Beverly and Jack ushered us out to the car. 

I couldn’t lie. I was starting to worry about my life, and the dead weren’t telling me any new secrets to help. 

—-

 

The police tape behind me flapped against the cop car it was wrapped around before it extended ten feet and wrapped around another. Red, blue and white flashed in my tired eyes as I watched the forensics team exit the container slowly. 

The container had been found at the edges of Great Falls Park, the clear Potomac river rushed behind the container hidden in the trees. 

I stood on the uneven rocks near the river and stared down at it, the mist had dampened my skin and made my shoulders feel heavy. 

I could feel them already, I could feel the dead cops’ confusion. It was a pounding in my head as I tried to focus, it felt like they were grabbing me. 

They hadn’t wanted to go, but I wasn’t focused on what they had saw when they died. I focused on what they felt before they died. 

Content. Alert. Familiar. 

The tension in me snapped as an image flashed across my eyes. A hand reaching in, being shaken. Familiarity. 

Betrayal

“Katie.”

I turned to find Will standing behind me, hands deep in a trench coat as he pulled a scarf tighter around his neck. 

The noise of the crime scene rushed in and overtook the sounds of the river. I heard the mud slide around Will’s old work boots as photos were snapped and repeated. 

The lights from the cars bathed Will in dark hues and I couldn’t help but think how his eyes burned like fire between them. 

I followed Will into the container, my booties didn’t make a sound as we stood together and looked over the scene. 

“My sweet sixteen.” 

In the middle of the container was a very lonely, singular table. Along the walls, once painted white, were streamers and party banners of all different bright colors. Cakes and food were set neatly on paper plates on the table, punch was poured into cups and-

That wasn’t red punch I was looking down at. 

Blood was splattered all over the table and coated everything. Three young girls were seated around, throats slit and ripped open as their eyes stared lifelessly at the soiled food. 

I closed my eyes and inhale, copper and sweat and death filling my lungs. 

The girls were holding hands, their heads snapped to the side so they always stared in an endless circle of looking at the others’ skull. Happy Man had closed their eyes. 

He was careful this time, I walked around the table slowly, letting my hand rest in the air between me and the bodies. The arcs of blood in the air, spraying over the ceiling and even into the corners...he was fired up, he had been ecstatic during the kills. 

Outside I heard someone emptying their stomach. . 

“This is my design.” Will spoke softly at the other end of the container. 

“Tell me, Will.” 

“They’re here when I get back here, I’m breathless and my body is high.” Will stares at the girl at the head of the table, “They’ve been locked up for a week, and I’ve just now brought them here, only now have I chained them up, starving and weak so they can’t refuse me. They love me, I made sure of that.”

Stockholm’s syndrome then. I shivered as my nose began to itch and the air grew dark. Sulfur. 

“I’m happy, something has gone right for once. The police outside do not know what’s happening. All they know is that I’m here.” 

I watched Will walk to one of the girls.

She opened her eyes and stared right back at me, unmoving and silent. I gripped the edge of the table and felt my knees go out, the energy from the caffeine seemed to drain from my body and through the ground. 

“I snap her neck and cut her open. She does not matter. They begin to scream. I move on to the next girl who’s choking on her friends blood and I do the same and rip her throat. That leaves the last girl.”

Help me.”

“What was special about her?” I ignored the girl as her dead self began to fizzle and smoke and pop. 

He said he would help us.”

“He said he was a doctor. He said he had money to help us.”

The other one cracked and jostled her snapped neck to turn to me. 

“She is perfect and she loves me but it is not who I want. I kill her without a thought, she’s not important but she was for this.” Will looked at me, “It’s supposed to be you.”

He said he loved me.” 

Yeah well he fucking lied now didn’t he?” I snapped and shouted at the dead girl who was looking straight through me. 

Blood splattered their pale faces but all I saw was myself. Will looked between me and the bloody teenagers before remaining quiet. 

“Should’ve known better than to get into the car of a stranger, girls.” I scolded them before they snapped back like a rubber band and when I blinked they were no longer looking at me. 

Still dead. Still had lifeless eyes. 

“Her heart’s gone.” I voiced, standing up and looking at the girl who was supposed to be me, “Will, it’s been ripped out.” 

“...he didn’t do that.” Will voiced, rubbing his eyes. 

“There’s a whole different vibe here now.” I whispered, walking as close to the girl as I dared. 

I peeled back the shirt on the girl and saw the gaping hole. 

“He took it with him when he left me here to rot and die on my own.”

I jerked back, stung as another image floated across my head. Blue eyes, a charming smile. 

I felt my heart squeeze tight and I kneeled there in the blood, Will yelled for me as I closed my eyes and collapsed in on myself 

I could feel the pain, could feel the screaming. There had been another one, another who promised her he’d help. 

I had gotten the signals wrong. 

“There are two killers.” I opened my eyes to find Will kneeling a couple feet away, hands outstretched to me uselessly but it helped, “New Happy Man killed the girls then another came in and ripped her heart out. Just her specifically. She was promised by two men and told they loved her and that they’d help. They both tore her apart.” 

“Why your birthday?”

“During my sixteenth party, back when I lived with Jack and Bella for a bit actually, two of the girls grabbed me and shoved me in the closet and called me a number of things. They held me down afterwards, Jack nearly tore them apart.”

It had also been my first mental breakdown since the murder. 

“Physical hurt. What would be next then?” Will wondered as he watched me stand up on shaky legs. I called the team back into the container. 

“My first kiss when I was a senior, it didn’t go well.” I touched my wrist faintly as everyone began to file in like ants, “He’s recreating all the points in my life that caused hurt me. The murder first and then my birthday where I learned that I couldn’t trust anyone. Then my first kiss, he took it as a sign to go further, he thought I was struggling for fun. He’s changed the locations by now, he showed that today.”

“And the second killer?” Jack asked, standing next to Will. 

“For some reason I don’t think the second killer is going to be a problem.” I looked back to the dead girls, “He was late to the party, he’s new to the equation.”

“Should we add or cancel squad cars at the other places then?” Jane shouted from outside, refusing to come nearer. 

“Keep them. He’ll be expecting them to pull out and away.” I told Jack, I walked by everyone and out of the bloody horror behind me.

 Jane was waiting patiently with his hands in his pockets, looking green. 

“Jesus Jane, you look horrible.” 

“The smell is worse this time around.”

“It’s worse ‘cause it’s fresh.” I grumbled, fighting my pocket for my lighter and cigarette, “Thanks for staying the night last night, Jane. You really didn’t have to.”

“With two killers interested in you? You’re lucky if I don’t send someone to sit directly outside your doorstep every night.” He smiled. 

After several minutes Jack came back out with Will in tow. Will walked with Jane and I back to his car as Jack got busy calling people. 

“You coming for dinner tonight?” Will asked suddenly, I paused in my step as I tightened my coat. 

“I thought that was a joke.” 

“No, not really.” Will seemed to smile at something in his head, “Are you?”

“Yeah. Yeah I’ll be there.” I nodded.

 Will was called away by his phone so I went to stand next to Jane a ways away from the crime scene and everyone else. I lit a cigarette and watched faces disappear in the wind around me. 

“So how much sleep did you actually get last night?” I asked, Jane smiled. 

“Coffee at midnight probably didn’t help much. Are you all done here?” 

I was distracted for a moment as fiery red hair appeared over the top of a cops car. I felt the anger flare up in me before I even knew what I was thinking. 

I took off after Lounds, Jane calling after me. I snapped under the police tape and tore around the corner of a hidden car to find Lounds chatting up one of the rookies. 

“Jesus fucking Christ what the hell is wrong with you?” I shouted, startling the two of them, “Get lost or else you’re out of a job in Virginia.”

The rookie took off, nearly running into Jane as he leaned against the car. 

Lounds pursed her lips and folded her arms as she stared at me, her cheeks were reddened. She moved to get away but I moved with her, blocking her against the car and the crime scene tape. 

“You’ve got some shit to explain.” 

“Everyone knows if it’s unlocked and open it’s not trespassing.” Freddie rolled her eyes. 

“Who the hell so you think you are trying to dig up my family’s history. Thanks to you, you’ve thrown off his fucking game with us by posting my fucking office up on your site.” I hissed, at that mention Freddie’s eyes grew a slight bit larger. 

“A girls gotta make her living somehow. And you’re the next big crazy.” Freddie’s eyes flicked behind me as Jane moved forward, “Well, who is this?” 

“Dr. Jane, psychiatrist. Pleasure to meet you Ms. Lounds, Tattlecrime is truly something else.”

“Jane, what the hell?”

“Well I never said it was good journalism.” Jane smirked, Lounds let go of his hand in an instant with a frown, “It’s clear you pay your way into things to get information.”

“I’m a journalist.”

“With no morals.” I added, Lounds made a noise before she stuffed her camera away. 

“-didn’t need to sleep with Zeller as well.” Jane continued with a sarcastic laugh. 

It happened in a second. 

One moment Freddie was cussing up a storm and then the next her hand was extended towards Jane’s face...and the next thing I knew I had thrown my own arm up to take the brunt of the hit. 

But I knew it hurt, and I knew I threw myself against the cop car so hard out of shock at being touched I made the sirens go off. 

I gripped my hand from where Lounds had touched it, Jane was calling for security to lead her away telling them to book her for attempting to harm an FBI agent. 

I breathed out, letting the fire in my skin slowly drip away into a numb feeling. I heard the siren click off and the crunch of boots on falling snow before I opened my eyes. 

“Are you alright? You touched her, Katie can you hear me?” 

“I’m fine, Jane.” I stood up and stretched out my arm, “It just hurts. She’s bony.”

Jane looked worried as I pulled my jacket tighter around my arms. I tried to not let his concern distract me as I watched Lounds get driven away. That would at least put a pause in her fuckery in my life. 

“We have to get back to interviews, I wonder if Will would go to the autopsy for me.” I mentioned to Jane. 

“Die any different?” 

“I’d like to know if the girls were drugged to get here. These people he’s picking, they’re not weak people. They were definitely strong enough to fight back, or team up and fight back.”

“Our serial killer is throwing you for turns every day it seems.” Jane remarked, I waved and sent a text to Jack about my new plans as we got into Jane’s Passat. 

Will watched us drive off, a small figure against the container of death. 

“If his plan is as long as you say it is, years in the making, then wouldn’t you think he’s counted all the odds against him?” 

“Obviously he can improvise. He killed early and now I’m pretty sure he doesn’t work alone. His partner killed the cops.” 

“He doesn’t have a partner..” Jane scoffed, I looked over at him. 

“Oh, really?”

“You didn’t see the bodies?” Jane coughed into his hand before I looked back out the window, “Well, their throats were cut open and gardenias were stuffed inside them. There’s no way he would kill and let another dress them up.”

“What the hell?” I frowned as my phone chimed from a text from Will, “So I’ve got battling Alpha dude serial killers? Great, and while I’m at it maybe I should send the twist to our profile for Mackey.” 

“More to Will’s profile?” He asked angrily. 

“Will’s profile and mine. His skill to kill and to steal identities makes him perfect. He can blend in anywhere.” 

“Maybe you’re the killer.” Jane smirked and I curled up in my seat. 

“Maybe you are, fuck off.” 

“I think you need some time to recuperate Katie, you look like you have a migraine coming. We can go to my office for the morning and you can continue your interviews after. I’ll make us some tea.” Jane offered, I didn’t even try to complain against him. He was right. 

“You don’t have patients today?” 

“I cleared them, I’m tired as well.” He winked, “I’ll stop for food. Go ahead and take a nap.” 

It didn’t take long for me to listen to that order. . 

—-

Jane’s office was so...different, after spending those few minutes in Dr. Lecter’s office. Dr. Lecter’s study  reminded me of a forest or a library full of old knowledge and secrets. Jane’s place was completely opposite, bright blues and yellows on the walls. His sofas were mismatched blues both dark and light. 

Although it didn’t have a second story library, Jane’s office was filled with books from top to bottom as well. Where Dr. Lecter seemed to have a particular taste in things, Jane seemed to throw the decorations and antiques around his office haphazardly. I sidestepped a low hanging plant he had stuck onto the ceiling. 

The only thing that seemed to be kept in neat conditions was the tea and coffee bar he had. 

Australians. Figured. 

Currently I was sitting on Jane’s office floor as he read through files with me on his ipad and then switching over to his computer. 

My own iPad was a flurry of tabs and passwords on the FBI database. Jane and I had figured out the killer was hitting all of the major defining points in my life. The murder. My sweet sixteen. My next would be my first kiss at18. Then after that…college. The last one scared me the most, mainly because Will was the biggest highlight of my four years there. He still hasn’t responded to my text of possibly getting off the case now, only to make sure I wore something fancy to the dinner. 

I wasn’t able to get in contact with my first kiss, Hugh Charmont. He went off the grid about a year ago after a divorce with his wife and nothing since. Not even a damn car ticket. I was currently waiting on getting his bill address forwarded to me. 

I looked at the high school photo of Charmont, god he looked like a cross between Will and Hannibal it was so weird. The bright eyes, sharp as hell cheekbones...I should’ve dated him just to reap the male model benefits geez. I watched Jane shift in his seat as I exited the high school yearbook photos. 

Will was significant. There was no point around it, his life was going to be in danger. 

“What is it?” Jane asked, staring at me on the floor. I felt pathetic. 

“Will. He’s going to be a victim.” I voiced. 

“You worry about Graham too much.”

“He’s my best friend.”

 “After a year not talking to him you consider him a friend still? We’ve gone over this Will Graham conversation before.”

“Well I considered you a friend until that comment.” I bit out, but he had a point, “Time shouldn’t tell if people stay friends or not.”

“It didn’t end nice between you.” Jane reminded, not even bothering to look up from his computer now. 

“It didn’t ‘end’ like that at all. I couldn’t be what he needed.”

“Sex.”

“Physical human connection and constant contact. But yeah, sex. Why else would people be into each other?” I rolled my eyes. 

“Watch your tone. Love comes in all sorts of chaos.” Jane stood up and grabbed my cup from his desk, “All I’m saying is that Will Graham has changed. Maybe you should keep that in mind, he’s not the same college boy you used to know.”

“You make it sound like he’s a bad boy.” 

“I’m warning you that Dr. Hannibal Lecter isn’t the best support therapist there is. He’s more into getting to know how fucked up you are and how he can use it to his advantage than to treating you.” 

“Dr. Lecter really doesn’t seem like he wants to kill Will.” I shook my head and watched Jane refill our cups with tea before walking back over. 

He sat down on his light blue sofa, stretching out his long legs almost to me as he popped open another button on his shirt. 

“Hannibal Lecter isn’t what he seems. Will’s probably already under his spell.”

“Not a therapist?”

“He’s killed patients when he was a surgeon. Then he had one of them attack another psychiatrist here in Baltimore a long time ago. I don’t trust him.”

“Well suck it up because I already told Will we’d go to the dinner he’s hosting.” I went back to my files. 

“Oh, as a date?” Jane smirked and I felt the hairs on my neck raise suddenly. 

Sulfur

“Shut up.”

“Crikey.”

I stood up and looked outside the room to the reception area, nobody was supposed to be here in this part of the building today. Jane had said so himself. 

I padded barefoot to the door and looked out, nobody sat in the waiting chairs. I stepped out and walked to the window, nobody on the streets. 

The heavy door to Jane’s office slammed shut suddenly and before I could help it, a small scream escaped my throat. Jane yelled from inside his office but I couldn’t hear him. Too focused on the dead person in front of me, dripping blood into the carpet. 

The girl from the birthday. 

“Two faces, he told us he’d love us forever. He told me he’d help me.”

Her throat moved, clicked and spilled fresh blood over her collarbones. 

He said it was for you.”

“Who is he?” I asked, moving around the desk to the dead ghoul. 

“You should know. He’s right here.”

The girl reached towards me and I jerked backwards, connecting my back with the edge of the desk. I pushed away and tumbled into Jane’s door. 

The door gave way and I tumbled back into Jane’s legs as he came rushing at the door himself from the inside. 

“Katie!” 

Jane narrowly kicked me in the head as I rolled back to the spot I had been sitting in. He ran out of the office and looked around the waiting room before coming back to me and straightening his hair. 

“I’m guessing a friend of yours?” 

“Girl from the birthday party. The one that was supposed to be me. She told me that I knew who the killer was and that he was right here.” I looked down at my hands as Jane stiffened where he was standing. 

“Right here?”

“Then she reached for me, maybe reaching for my chest? My heart? I have no idea what to make of it.” I shook my head and Jane relaxed before sitting on the edge of the chair as close as he could to me. 

“Are they gone?” He asked, I nodded. 

It was too warm in his office now, Jane was feeling too close to my skin beneath my sweater. 

I started to inch away and Jane’s eyes flashed. I stopped. 

“What did they say? Exactly?”

“‘He said it was for me. I should know. He’s here.’” I repeated, Jane relaxed back against the seat. 

“Still someone you know then.” 

“Can we...we need to get to those interviews.” I stood up and retrieved my boots, “You mind giving me a ride?”

I watched Jane move from his couch to his chair where his jacket rested. His hands were steady as they picked up the blue fabric and swiftly tugged it on. I felt my heart beat faster, there had been something in his eyes. Something in his entire fucking vibe was making me hyperventilate. Jane never made me hyperventilate, he was the steady rock. 

So why was I so afraid of him right now? For no fucking reason? 

“So, do all therapists share each other?” I asked quietly as Jane drove us back down to Quantico. 

“Lecter is out of his prime, he should have stuck to surgery. The fact that Graham is seeing him just makes me irritated. He shouldn’t be in practice.”

“You mentioned he turned a patient against a doctor?” 

“The man was violent, he had referrals from several different therapists. He tends to get his patients obsessed with him.” 

“He seems close to Will but Will’s not crazy.”

“You hear about his encephalitis case last year? What a roller coaster of a ride that must have been.” Jane joked, “Hallucinations, contaminating crime scenes because half your heads on fire, not fun.” 

“Dr. Lecter’s helped him through it.” I pointed out. Jane brushed it off. 

“Oh he helped him along just fine. He probably also just hasn’t slept with Will yet.” 

“Wow, really? Will’s been straight like all his life.”

“Changed man, Katie.” Jane reminded me. I looked out the window, I thought of the soft touches between Dr. Lecter and Will when they thought I wasn't looking. 

Will also never used to dress or own any fancy clothes. Or the new car. 

“He’s too wealthy to have anyone question him.”

“Oh and you’re so much better?” I laughed. 

“I don’t sleep with my patients.”

“You’ve been trying since we’ve met.” I muttered under my breath. Jane didn’t reply to that immediately, just frowned to himself. 

“I didn’t realize I was making you so uncomfortable, Katie.” Jane’s voice cracked at my name and I not my tongue.

  God I’m such a fucking idiot. 

You’re not, Jane, just. Forget I said that, I’m sorry.” 

There was a moment of silence before Jane shifted in his seat. I watched him untie his tie before he tossed it into my lap. 

“What, no I don’t wanna do this.” 

“Put it on, Katie. You focus better when you can’t see me.” He ordered. I mumbled at him as I fastened his black tie around my eyes, “We both know it doesn’t benefit either of us to keep me shut out.”

I could hear Jane move next to me, I could hear the gentle hum of the car. I heard every noise possible and I heard my own heart slow down. 

“Where are we?” Jane asked. 

“Freeway to Quantico. It’s about 1 in the afternoon.”

“What are we doing?”

“Besides an impromptu therapy session in moving traffic? Then I’d say giving into your wishes.” 

“What am I wearing?” Jane laughed softly, “In detail, please.”

“You have on your regular blue slacks from the men’s warehouse, you have a white shirt on and it’s unbuttoned at the third button from the top. Your watch is new, I haven’t seen it before but I don’t care enough about jewelers to tell you where but I’m sure you bought it to show off.” 

“Show off?” 

“You’re jackets old, you wore that the first time we met in my hospital room.” 

“It’s a nice jacket.” Jane defended, “My favorite, mind you.” 

“New cologne.” I inhaled and he laughed. 

“Armani. Got it mailed as a gift.” He shifted in his seat suddenly, “Tell me how I look.” 

“You just changed how you sat down.”

“So tell me.” Jane whispered. 

I closed my eyes behind the blindfold tie and focused. I could feel his body heat, separated by the gear shift but I could tell he was sitting lower in his seat. More relaxed. 

I could feel Jane’s eyes on me and that feeling of being hunted made me stutter in breathing. 

“You can do it, Katie. It’s alright.” 

I held out my hand, palm facing towards Jane as I tried to feel him out without touching him. 

“You’re sitting with your upper body open to me. We’re hitting about sixty now but the road is still smooth so we’re still more than twenty minutes away. 

“What’s around me?”

I frowned and my hand started to shake. The smell of decay filled my nose suddenly as thousands of voices swarmed my ears and caressed the skin on my fingers until they stripped it to the bone. 

“It’s too much!” 

“Just breathe Katie.” Jane calmed me down as my hand began to shake more, “Deep breaths.”

The voices were gone in an instant and all that remained was the silence of the car and the thrum of the engine. 

There had been so many voices around Jane. 

“What are you thinking of me now, then?” Jane asked another question and I rested my hand in my lap. My heart was beating frantically still. 

The brush of soft fabric against my fingers took me ahead to Quantico, in a dimly lit room. Will drifted into my head and suddenly I wasn’t with Jane in the car anymore, I was in my dorm with Sill and a twelve pack between us. 

Soft chocolate hair, full laughter, sun kissed skin and warmth from a shared blanket and nicotine stains on our fingers. 

“Like a blanket on a cold day, weighing me down with warmth. Watching the wind change the leaves and bushes. Fishing in your dad's old boat before it went up for auction.” 

I stopped as Jane coughed pointedly. 

I slipped the tie from my head and let it fall in my lap, I was pathetic. 

“I asked about myself, not Will Graham.” Jane tried to make a joke out of it, I could hear the hurt in his voice. 

I could see it. 

He stopped questioning me and turned the music on, lowering a window to let in the chilly air for a moment. Wordlessly I handed him the tie and he let it drop into his palm before he turned back to the road. Keeping Jane’s eyes was torture now, maybe this was what Will went through when he looked through the eyes of a killer. 

But I was human and so was Jane, humans had their faults but the guilt usually happened after the choices were made. Fuck me. 

“I’m...sorry, Jane.” 

“It’s been my fault, I’ve made you uncomfortable at times and didn’t even notice it.” Jane sighed and rubbed a hand over his face, “This is all my fault sweetheart I’m sorry. I’m sorry for putting you through all of this mess again so soon, I should have waited. We should have worked on you more, help you along smoother before you got back to the gore.”

“I didn’t really think of what I was saying.”

“Good.” Jane suddenly smiled brightly, “The point was to not make you think. It was to make you tune into your senses. Unfortunately, Will Graham weaseled his way in.”

Jane flipped the tie around his neck once again, driving with his knee. For a moment his face was bathed in nothing but warm sunlight, his blue eyes fighting with the ones in my head. 

“You’re still new to me, Jane. You’re different, I haven’t figured you out yet. I knew Will for years, he’s a comfortable thought.”

“Isn’t it the therapists job to be figuring out the patient? Not the other way around?” Jane teased, “Well then how long are you going to know me?”

The cab grew silent around us, Jane breathed evenly but he tapped the steering wheel in an anxious pause. 

Jane was like a drug, I hated to admit it to myself. But he was intoxicating to a point, he made my head swim until I couldn’t think straight. Sometimes that was nice, sometimes it was invasive. 

“The rest of my short life it seems.” I answered, “So either way I’m gonna die early, so stop the dick measuring contest with Will.” 

“Will Graham isn’t the same man you think he is, don’t put your trust into people who haven’t earned it yet.” 

“And you have?” I asked, folding my arms. 

Only five more minutes to my office, this was getting to be overbearing. Jane just gave a knowing smile as an answer. 

Once back at Quantico and safely tucked away in my office did I finally feel the tension leave my shoulders. I made a promise to take a cab home instead of dealing with that energy from Jane again. 

I laid my head down on the table and closed my eyes, soaking in the soreness from my body and letting it ground me to a point. 

Knock knock. 

“Oh for fucks sake.” I groaned as my door opened slowly, I remained on my desk as I was as the taps of shoes filled my ears, “I’m busy. Go away.”

“Ms. Morrison, are you ill?” An accented voice seemed to laugh at me from in front of my desk. 

“Good afternoon Dr. Lecter.” I grumbled. Great. Just who I needed to have in my room, another therapist, “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“William, actually.” Dr. Lecter sat down in one of my chairs and I sat up with a laugh, “He seems to be very worried about you. I was around visiting dear Uncle Jack and told him I’d stop in for you.” 

“Where is he?” I watched as Dr. Lecter reaches down and pulled something out of a bag and set it on my desk, “Wait no, first what is that?”

“Coffee?” He frowned for a second before undoing the fancy thermos when the aroma fills the room, “As to answer the other question, he is currently indisposed at another potential Ripper scene.”

“There’s potential scenes now?” I sipped the coffee and almost died. Of course it would be home brought. 

“Many have enjoyed the attempt to copy his work from a year ago. I have been personally finding, they lack the compassion which is ultimately their downfall.”

“Or their ride to fame, being another crazy copycat killer.” I added, Dr. Lecter nodded, “I hear that it was a tough year when the Ripper came back. Now it’s tough again after he took some time off.”

“We also had the Great Dragon hunting us through Europe at one point all the way back to the states.” Dr. Lecter seemed to look away for a moment, “Did Will tell you he pulled me with him off a cliff to get away from Dolarhyde?”

“You’re kidding?!”

“Obviously we survived, but that’s the last time I let Will convince me of anything of his as a good idea.”

“Jesus, and I thought I had it rough jumping gates with him back then.” I smiled as Dr. Lecter laughed to himself as well. 

“How is Mr. Jane?” He asked, I paused and set my cup down softly, “Katie?”

“He scared me today. For a split second I thought Jane was going to stab me or something. He had this look in his eyes...and death surrounded him like a blanket.” I shivered and Dr. Lecter raised an eyebrow. 

“You are a self proclaimed psychic?”

“More like cursed. I don’t, it’s not like full images Supernatural style okay?” I explained, Dr. Lecter seemed interested and leaned forward, “I see them but it’s like glitches. They fade in and out but I can feel them, I can feel them better than I can see them. Sometimes it’s just about listening to what they want you to see.”

“And what do they want you to see?”

“The truth. They don’t want to remain dead in ignorance so I speak for them. Or get scared shitless by them but it works both ways.” I shrugged, Dr. Lecter frowned. 

“Hallucinations then?”

“Kinda. Overactive imagination, hypervigilant, touch phobia, sees dead people. I’m a great concoction of many things Dr. Lecter.” 

We were interrupted by his pocket buzzing loudly. I sat back in my seat as he apologized and  stepped out to answer it. 

I waited patiently as Dr. Lecter finished his call. 

“Well, it seems I'm needed elsewhere now. I have a shipment coming for me in the antique store downtown I’d rather not be late for.” 

I nodded as he came back in, Dr. Lecter’s eyes never left my face as I watched him pull out the keys to his Bentley. Great. I was welcoming the company but now I was going to be alone again, I felt my shoulders drop slightly before I busied myself with walking him to the door. I guess I could look over the pictures again and see if anything came to me for the second killer angle, maybe break out the ouija-

“I could use the company, I don’t have patients today and the dinner is only five hours away.” Dr. Lecter seemed to falter in his step. 

Alone with my thoughts or alone with a man Jane wants me to hate and be careful of?

“Only if you tell me why tonight is so special to come have dinner.” I countered, there was a minute expression flickering behind his eyes. 

“It’s always a cause to celebrate, when we have old friends for dinner.” 

He grinned. 

Chapter Text

I looked up at the giant mansion before me before I decided that Baltimore was definitely getting a secret income from the rich. I was shaking, nervous and cold as I stood in Dr. Lecter’s driveway, there were three other cars already there along with mine, yet I felt safer here with cars than the inside of the death trap house.

Fuck, being social was worse in real life than I remembered.

“You should know, Hannibal doesn’t believe in arriving anywhere late.”

I turned to a figure as he stepped around a silver VW, Will paused in his step and seemed to laugh at something to himself.

“Yeah, I got the gist of his rules this afternoon when he took me for a joyride.” I looked back to the house uneasily, “Am I really that late?”

“Only if you say you are.” Will walked with me, careful as he sipped a glass of wine, “I’m glad you could make it, we have a few others here too...Katie-”

“Dr. Lecter told me about Alana, Will it’s fine.” The feeling in my stomach began to blossom even more, “Besides, I’ll have Chilton to entertain me and you can entertain yourself with Jane.”

Will groaned but led me inside the house anyways. 

I could hear laughter and conversation coming from the living room as Will led me to an open bar in the corner of a separate study room.

“Jane’s been decent so far.” Will spoke as I sipped some champagne, “He’ll be an ass once he sees you’re here, he’s been civil with Chilton even.”

“I’m sorry about Jane, Will. I know he hasn’t been the best of what he can be around you.”

 “Oh, he’s showed us what he’s perfectly capable of.” Will eyes hardened, “Don’t worry about me or Hannibal with Jane. We can take care of him, it’s you who we’re worried about.”

  I was about to reply when we were interrupted by a towering Jack Crawford. 

 “Katherine, you made it.” Jack smiled my way from across the living room, besides him Alana sat with another woman, studying me closely. 

“Free food was something I’ve never passed up.” I joked, I didn’t see Jane or Dr. Lecter anywhere in the room.

“All the fancy psychologists are in the kitchen having a debate.” Alana offered when she saw my gaze, “Well, the men psychologists anyways.”

 “Funny-”

 “Don’t.” Will warned with a smirk behind his glass.

 “...I’ll be right back.” 

 I sidestepped the conversation and walked to the kitchen, passing the living wall of green plants. I paused in the dining room, feeling a quiet settle around me as the dark of the room swirled around. It reminded me of the darkness of the cupboard. 

See? See?

A girl’s voice echoed around me in a chorus, I felt the prick of a blade against my throat and-

“That’s been proven wrong multiple-Katie?” 

 I inhaled sharply and felt my body drain of heat instantly as a cold settled over my skin. I smiled weakly at Jane as he came out of the kitchen doors with Chilton in tow looking annoyed.

 “I’ve arrived?” 

“Finally, the party can start.” Chilton continued on to the other room, Jane paused in the room with me. 

“What’d you do to him, he was just starting to grow on me.” I whispered to Jane who looked disappointed.

“There’s talk of him stepping down as the Head and Alana replacing him. He’s not happy.” Jane replied. 

“It makes sense after what happened with the Ripper last year, he still walks with a limp.” I set my glass down as Jane hovered next to me. 

 I could hear Dr. Lecter in the kitchen whistling to himself. 

“We look depressing dressed in all black.” Jane smiled, “Katie, about what happened in the car…”

“It’s fine, Jane. Don’t worry about it.” I waved him off but Jane gave me a look, “I don’t need to focus on it, I need to focus on the case. So let’s just table this stuff until it’s done.”

We stood in silence for a moment longer before Jane burst out chuckling. 

“What?”

“Have you seen this place?” He gestured to everything around us, “I told you Lecter was weird, he was a bit more gothic when I met him though.” 

“You two used to know each other?” 

“We got along because we had to in those circumstances.” Jane said darkly, “Afterwards, we decided we’d rather kill each other.”

“You’re both not dead, yet.” I smiled. 

“We’re waiting for the perfect moment to attack.” Jane downed his glass.

“He’s got an eye for the weird for sure, the swan picture I could have done without seeing the rest of my life.” I moved around the table, “He's not as bad as you make him seem you know. I went shopping with him today for some of the food and it wasn’t even bad.” 

“You were alone with him!?” 

Jane’s voice rose and the conversation stopped outside the doors. Jane collected himself and I stayed still, feeling guilty at the betrayed look on his face. 

“We didn’t do anything…” I kept my voice to a whisper.

 Jane huffed angrily, his hands flexed like he wanted to reach out and punch something.

“You don’t know him like I do.”

“Katie, you’ve arrived just in time.” Dr. Lecter walked out of the kitchen, buttoning up a slick blazer. 

“Yeah well, I found the alcohol so I’m set.” I tried to joke, Dr. Lecter raised an eyebrow at me.

“Would you let the guests know dinner is about to be served, Mr. Jane?” Dr. Lecter turned to him behind me, Jane’s eye gave a twitch before he turned and left through the doors. 

“Are you alright, Katie?” 

Of course he heard that. Fuck. I felt my body lock up as I set the flute of champagne down. Dr. Lecter’s eyes stayed on me the whole time. 

“Sometimes Jane gets jealous and he has human reactions. We’re all only human.” I defended, Dr. Lecter looked to my hands for a moment.

“Who is supposed to be counseling whom? Do not make excuses for others behaviors, I don’t make exceptions for the rude and neither should you.” Dr. Lecter stepped forward to me just as the doors reopened. 

I jumped and pushed back to the table, sending the champagne swirling and spreading over the dark wood. 

Will walked in first, eyes jumping from me and then to Dr. Lecter and then to the spill. 

“Sorry. Sorry.” I repeated, Dr. Lecter handed Will a towel and picked up the glass as everyone else came in. 

“Oh no, what happened?”

“Everything alright?”

“A simple spill is all. Will and Katie are handling it.”

I couldn’t tell who was speaking and who was faking being concerned as I walked into the kitchen. Earlier in the day I had been here helping the doctor prepare the food. Now here I was, wanting to not be here. 

If I got Jane in trouble with any of my complaining then I’d have to start seeing Alana or some other bunk therapist-

What if I stopped therapy altogether would that be- 

No, I need to have someone to talk to and bounce my ideas off of- 

Jack would never go for a support animal- 

And that was the only way I could continue working-

The killer is a therapist I needed one to get close and-

“Breathe, Katie.”

Will. 

I inhaled and opened my eyes. Everything was blurry-

“Again.”

The kitchen cleared. I could see hard lines and edges and sharp colors. 

Hannibal Lecter's kitchen. Almost eight pm. I had a small panic attack. Will Graham was moving around me like nothing was wrong. 

“You spilt some champagne. Luckily Hannibal waxes and polishes that table every hour before he serves so I don’t think he’ll care.” Will spoke as he wrung out a rag in the sink, “You’ll have to forgive him, I think he got too used calling me out when we talked, he does it to everyone now. His sense of personal boundaries has diminished.”

“He asked about Jane...I freaked out. I know I make it seem like I can’t stand Jane but I don’t mean any of it. Sometimes the guy gets on my nerves but who doesn’t?” 

“You’re attached to Jane. That can be bad.” Will eyed me for a moment, his bright eyes flying over my face. 

We rejoined the others at the table, Dr. Lecter had them all engrossed in explaining however he prepared the meat. I had asked earlier but eventually tuned him out, he was a talented cook and used words in languages I didn’t know existed. I sat next to Jane, keeping my head down as Dr. Lecter began to serve. 

“My apologies for not introducing an unfamiliar face to you, Katherine. This is Margot Verger.”

The woman who had been sitting with Alana was looking me over, judging. Alana moved her hand under the table and I watched it stop where Margot’s bare knee would be. I looked at Will and then back between the two women. Oh. This was new information. 

“When did you switch teams?”

“My sexuality-“

“Oh, right. I don’t care.” I interrupted and Alana’s mouth hung open. 

“Katie.” Jane scolded, everyone was looking at me like I was the mean one. 

I was. 

Still didn’t care though. 

“Well in other news, we still haven’t gotten in contact with Hugh Charmont, have you had any luck?” Chilton changed the subject quickly. 

“No, and I sent messages to all of his social media.” I shook my head, “I highly doubt he’d remember me anyways.”

“Florida is cooperating in all counties to find him, if he's alive, we’ll know soon.”

Who would have thought that your old high school ex would be fighting for his life without him even knowing it. 

“How do you think your killer will attack Hugh?” Margot asked, she was looking straight at me, “Why is he so important?” 

“Last I checked you’re not on this case, neither are you Alana.” I responded, “So I don’t know why were discussing it in front of-“

Katherine !.” Jack snapped, everyone grew quiet, “Alana has brought Ms. Verger in on this case because her estate is helping fund the amount of security we’ve been placing around you and everyone else.”

Margot and Alana smirked at me, I could feel the anger bubbling beneath my skin. 

The walls around me felt like they were closing in, suddenly I was too close to Jane. I was too hot I could feel him burning his way through his clothes. 

The table was too cold, the food was too strong. The drink was-

Look. 

My head snapped up as the voice of a girl delighted by. I watched as the light above us flickered softly before blazing and blinding me. 

Shadows moved behind the kitchen doors, feet running back and forth. Bare feet. There was a scream and I flinched as I watched the shadows pass back and forth and back and forth and-

“Katie?” 

Everyone was staring at me, even Will looked incredibly worried. I looked back to the light then to the door again, there were no shadows. 

No barefooted steps padding around the tiles. 

“Do you see someone?” Dr. Lecter asked, he even looked to his doors where I was staring. 

“Breathe, Katherine. Breathe, that’s all you can do.” Jane whispered, I nodded and took in a deep breath. 

A breath that wasn’t shaky. 

“We should ask my father again to draw up a sketch of Mackey. I think I’m missing a key point in what he looks like.” 

“Impressive.” Margot whispered. I ignored her. 

“We can interrogate him on Monday, I’ll have a sketcher come with me.“ Jack agreed quickly, “if that works with your schedule Dr.?”

Chilton’s grumbled in agreement, eyes going to Alana for a jealous moment. 

“He’s terrified of Mackey, but he keeps telling me I should be the one who’s more scared. Everything around me is telling me that it’s going to floor me when I find out.” 

“He held back about his therapist, that information can get you killed.” Alana narrowed her eyes, “As well as the dates he stole from Mackey. You’ll be able to trust his sketch?.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time someone came after me.” I glared back over a bite of meat, “He won’t rise to me if I’m bait either, he’s just waiting for me to catch up. That’s it. Mackey wants me to know who he is before I meet him. That’s all this is, soon enough he’ll start dropping clues.”

“Clues to what? Another murder you made?” Margot scoffed. 

“Ladies, please.” Dr. Lecter warned. 

Alana apologized through her red lips but Margot said nothing. 

I hated people. I hated socializing.

 I stood up wordlessly and went to the kitchen, I heard Jane let out a loud sigh before the scrape of a chair was followed. 

I went to grab a bigger glass and a bottle before a hand grabbed the bottom of the champagne before me. 

“Is that what it’s like to see Jane and I go at each other in front of you?” Will asked, I let go and he poured half a glass for me, “You know, Jane and Alana were going at it earlier about you, don’t mind Margot. She’s protective of Alana.” 

“You could have told me she was gay now!” I had the urge to smack his chest, “Really, Graham?”

“You never let me explain. You just assumed Alana and I were together.” Will at least had the decency to look guilty, “And we had just met after you ditched me too.”

I took in Dr. Lecter’s clean countertop. My heels were starting to make my feet sore. 

“I did tell her she was a shit therapist and the cause of most of my problems. I never got better with her, she was always fighting against me. At least Jane doesn’t fight me on how I’m feeling and how I should feel.” I downed a good amount of alcohol, “I’m not changing who I am for someone else’s opinion. I can’t change who I am and he understands that.”

“No, of course not, he  just whispers in your ear who you should be.”

“He came in like a miracle at the worst time of my life.”

“You talk about him like you’re dating. You still do.”

I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I felt my body start to cool off again. Away from others. Away from people who didn’t understand this. 

“I may have led Alana to believe that Jane and I had fucked, just to piss her off when I told her I was going to Jane.”

“But-“

“You actually think I’d willingly fuck my therapist just to shove it in Alana’s face?”

Will looked at me. 

“Your therapist literally cooks for you like every single day!” I whispered, aware of how close we were to the dinner still happening. 

“Mine’s a lot less fucked up than yours.” Will defended. 

“Oh, you wanna bet?”

We stared at each other for a moment more before we broke out in muffled laughter. Will covered his face in his shoulder and I covered my mouth poorly. 

I bumped a spoon and sent it clattering across the floor which only made Will laugh harder. 

I leaned dangerously close into his space as we heard Dr. Lecter call to us concerned. 

Fuck, the spoon, that’s an antique he’ll be pissed.” Will giggled as he bent and retrieved it. 

“I haven’t seen Will smile like that lately, you must be quite the entertainer.” 

I looked up as Dr. Lecter watched us, eyes moving over Will fondly. 

“I’d rather have laughter than unnecessary violence in the kitchen .” Will teased back at him, Dr. Lecter just gave a small smile. 

A chill settled over my skin and I heard the thrum of electricity in the air again. I stopped mid sip as I saw the flickering lights underneath the pantry door. A shadow, light another shadow. Like someone was walking back and forth deliberately, there was a ghost of a sigh as the two men faded into nothing in front of me. 

All I saw was an empty kitchen. Shadows thrown against lines and hard edges. I could smell...metal in the air. 

I looked over at the fridge and almost dropped the glass. I could see Will and Dr. Lecter and my reflection but suddenly there were others. Blurred lines and blurred faces but I could see them. 

I looked to the pantry again as ice tightened my bones. There were others here, I could feel them. The dead were trying to cling to me and my energy was draining through the pores in my feet. 

I could feel my soul leaking through the tiles and dripping into a basement below my feet. 

Screams echoed and floated up through the floor and I closed my eyes, swaying. Listen, listen all I had to do was listen-

He’s here. 

I opened my eyes and both men were back in my vision with the roar of oceans crashing into my head. Will looked to me for a moment before he left the kitchen as well, I stood next to a plate of food, it reminded me of a young boy being held down as his brain was smashed in.

There were no lights on in the pantry, there were no faces on the stainless fridge. 

My palms started to sweat as I picked up the plate. 

Walking back into the dinner was quiet, nobody said anything about my dramatic exit and Alana didn’t look up but Margot did look regretful. 

As Dr. Lecter and Jack steered the conversation the rest of dinner, I felt dozens of eyes in the dark watching me. 

I inhaled sharply as Dr. Lecter’s suit brushed my shoulder as he explained where the dessert originated from. 

I waited for the pain, the instinct to pull away from him and cower. 

There was no pain from the fabric, there was no hollowness from where he had breathed in my space or from where he inhaled next to my hair. Dr. Lecter was already back at his seat at the head by the time I unlocked my muscles. 

Jane was watching me from the corners of his eye. 

 

After dessert we sat around the fire, drinking coffee and trying not to talk about murder. Jane and I had been discussing my sleep pattern again when Will sat down next to me. Jane leaned forward into my space and I leaned away, which put me further into Will. 

“How are you dealing with Mackey?” Will asked, his eyes were on Jane. 

“We’re starting to realize he may be smarter than we thought.” Jane spoke up, “Smarter than what the FBI is giving him credit for perhaps.”

“He’s a good con artist, so he’s made of money by now,” I interrupted, “He’d change his car by now entirely. Besides Zeller is sending over the fibers he found in the front seat.” 

“You’re trusting Zeller to make an educated guess?” Will asked, almost laughing, “Seems to me like Mackey might actually get a break.”

“Just because you hate him doesn’t mean everyone does.” I pushed away from the both of them and further into the seat, “Mackey has access to so much, it’s disturbing.” 

“Completely undetected, if he was invisible he could be right next to you.” 

“Stop it.” I warned at his jab at Jane, Will smirked, “ Graham .”

“If it’s someone you know, could it be someone in this room?” Chilton joined in. 

I watched as a small splash of wine on Chilton’s collar seeped in. 

I didn’t have an answer. 

“Perhaps you are looking at it the wrong way.” Dr. Lecter spoke, “This Happy Man is murdering families, recreating moments from your past that would be significant for young women.”

“He’s murdering me over and over again in the eyes of different people.” I replied. Dr. Lecter watched me for a moment as he sipped his wine. 

“Perhaps he’s trying to create a family again. All he needs is you to complete it.” 

“Don’t forget there’s a second killer maybe helping him. Then who’s supposed to be my family? Mackey doesn’t want me like that. Will said it’s perverse, it’s disgusting how he sees me.”

“He wants you to be like him.” Margot finally said to me, “He wants you to see the violence and love he puts into the kills for you.”

“...that’s not far off.” I admitted, “My father accused me of being the one who killed my mom and brother when I was a kid.”

Jack looked uncomfortable in his seat, this was always a horrible conversation for him to live through. Margot was looking at me silently, wanting me to continue. 

“If Mackey thinks I did it, he's assuming I can just switch my head off and on to murder.l

“Did you?”

“Did I what?” 

“Kill them.” Margot answered simply, Alana smacked her knee. 

I didn’t reply, I didn’t have an answer anymore to be honest. Jack cleared his throat. 

“He could be telling you what to think. Like a psychiatrist.” Will mused. 

“You have no idea what kind of fucked up head you have, Graham.” Jane muttered besides me. 

Will heard. 

In an instant both men stood up and faced each other in front of me, Jane was a good foot taller than Will but Will could crumple people by just speaking what he saw. 

“I guarantee I’ll be the one to break yours open then.” Will growled low. 

Enough !” Jack boomed and then it was suddenly too loud. Too much. 

There were other voices now, others screaming out in the air around me as the energy zapped and grew. I could feel their hands on me begging me to see, to open up my eyes and just look at what’s around me-

“As soon as she gets the signatures she’s done and leaving you.” 

“Will!” 

The damage was done. Jane turned to me, hurt in his eyes as I stood up from the couch. Everyone else in the room looked as surprised as I felt horrified. 

“Katie-“ 

“You think I’m continuing our therapy because I want to sleep with you that badly? I’m only as good as a signature, Katie? I’m honestly hurt.” Jane’s voice cracked for a moment. 

The whiplash of emotions I felt drained from me instantly. I didn’t want to deal with this. I didn’t want to put myself in this situation that fast. I couldn’t look at Jane and take in his emotions too. 

I looked at the floor, I should've known better than to trust anyone with that information. Alana stood up and put a hand on Jane’s arm, comforting him. 

I snapped. 

“Get your fucking hands off him.” 

Alana’s hand snapped back instantly like she had been burned and everyone’s eyes widened. 

God, I was so tired. 

“I’ll see you at work, Jack. Thank you for the dinner Dr. Lecter.” 

I walked out of the room and the door, not waiting to hear Dr. Lecter’s apology as Baltimore froze over. 



—-

 

JANE

 

Fuck Will Graham and Fuck Hannibal Fucking goddamned Lecter. Fuck their stupid dinner plans and taking his time away from his objective. 

God, he had been so close! He had planned something special for Katie, at least later on in the evening he had something worth keeping secret. 

Now he had to make up about four hours worth of time and work, and only two hours until Katie broke down and called him. That’s what he had been conditioning her to do the past several months; codependency and reliability. 

Gaslighting Katie had been easy from the start. She had come to him broken and terrified of the outside world as well as her own mind. 

The dinner had just unraveled everything, they had planted doubt and his work was beginning to unravel. 

Jane swerved into his driveway, cutting his lights as he drove up and parked angrily. The blood in his veins was hot, he pictured it as black acid climbing through his skin and staining him. 

That’s how she made him feel. 

That’s how alive she made him. He hadn’t felt like that. Ever. 

Jane moved angrily though his house, ripping off the suit and running a hand through his hair. 

Chilton’s fucking Australian comments. 

Alana’s eyes on him, judging. Trying to touch him, comfort him with her snappable hands. 

Jack’s dumb fucking face. 

Will and Lecter...Will Graham and his fucking empathy he knew. 

He knew. Lecter fucking told him and he knew. 

Jane ripped open the hidden basement door in his closet, slipping off his shoes and socks before he stripped and hung his shirt up. 

He climbed down the short ladder, carpet giving way to bricks, before dropping to the cold ground. Around him it was blindingly white, plastic coverings over the entire floor. In the middle of the hidden basement, sat a lonely above-ground swimming pool. 

Will Graham had never seen one of his true trophies before, and neither had she. Lecter has, many years ago before they realized that Baltimore wasn’t big enough for both of them. 

Those had been the beginnings, she had elevated him to drive for perfection. To tell a story without using words. To achieve the, admittedly beautiful, level of craftsmanship the Ripper showed. 

Two years in the making and even longer in his heart. This four hour hiccup wasn’t bad, he’d push through it. 

Jane pulled himself over the edge of the pool and dropped down into it, bare feet never making a sound. 

It was a good thing he had a strong stomach or else this was going to be messier than he needed. 

Below him squirmed two people. A young beautiful thing about eighteen and an older man around thirty. 

Their hands were bound together so they wouldn’t drift apart in the blood that had leaked from their bodies through the night. 

He had put water in to mix with the blood, the metallic scent always bothered him after a long time being immersed in it. The liquid moved and stained his bare ankles as he crouched in the water. 

The fake lovers. He had so much love for these two people, and he was so happy with how Katie reacted to it. Jane skimmed his knife along the bottom of the pool as he surveyed the unnatural couple. 

That was the point. To show how unnatural they could be together but oh, so in love. 

They were alive though. For now. He could see the dried lines of blood running against the wires and knots that were digging into their skin, he could tell they had been struggling the entire night, the streaks of bloodied hands against the sides were enough proof of that. 

Typical. Fucking pathetic. 

The man was the same man Chilton had been so interested in discussing. Her last ex from her life, he had actually kissed her. What a lucky fucking man to kiss the warrior from death, too bad this man would never remember her taste. 

Jane bent down next to him, knees caressed by the liquid as he inhaled the man's scent against the side of his face. Fear. Piss. Blood. 

From inhaling cheek to temple, the man screamed behind his gagged mouth. Jane laughed before dropping him back into the blood, forcing him to move the lifeless body next to him to not break his hands. 

She wasn’t enough. 

He wanted to feel her underneath him, writhing in ecstasy and pain. He wanted to feel her fight for her life, to see her beautiful eyes...eyes that saw things no one else could see. Eyes that were so bright, so trusting and so hurt. He wanted to watch them die out and fade into grey. 

He didn’t want her to see the dead anymore. 

He wanted her to see him. 

He wanted to carve her up and sleep with her body every night, she would keep his nightmares away. 

But she needed to want him first, she needed to crave Jane as much as he craved her. 

They were perfect together. She didn’t have anyone and neither did he, they would be good together. Both reaching for another half that would complete them. He could protect her, he had been protecting her. 

“Then Graham walks in like he has all the solutions on his dick.” Jane voiced aloud, standing up, “You know something so fucked up? Jack knows she did it and he kept it from her. Police integrity to protect a kid or some shit.”

The water trickled down his bare thighs as the man watched him, terrified. 

This wouldn’t be a message to her, not anymore. Not with Hannibal Lecter and his new protegee. 

Hannibal fucking the Cannibal Lecter. Jane never would have thought he’d cross paths with the Ripper again. He certainly didn’t expect the Ripper to be fucking another killer that’s for certain. Jane scoffed, the Ripper was in love with the Butcher. 

There had been copycats of Ripper kills he had followed over the years since nearly escaping Lecter’s wrath. The Butcher was new, within the past year or so but it had all the makes of the Ripper. 

This was a message to the both of them about her. If Will Graham hadn’t pissed him off from the very beginning with Lecter this would have been a very different outcome. Her ex-lover would be on a flight out of Florida by now and this young girl would be alive. 

He bent down again to survey the girl, her skin was colder and starting to stiffen up. He drew back, she had to be warm. Warm like the sun, that’s what she smelled like anyways. 

This wasn’t her. It would never come close to killing her. 

Blind. 

Rage. 

Rage. 

Fucking. Rage. 

“YOU AREN'T HER.”

After the signatures, she’s gone. 

“SHE TRUSTS ME, SHE DOESN'T TRUST YOU.”

Will Graham was a big part of my life, Jane.

SHE WAS MINE FIRST. I KNEW HER MIND FIRST.”

Hanibal Lecter-

“I LOVED HER FIRST.”

Will-

SHE’S MINE.”

Jane’s vision swam in front of him, the bloodied water splashed over his body as he fell back down to his knees in front of his offerings, leaving one dead and the other on the brink of death. 

Salty tears danced across his tongue as he breathed deep, inhaling to the point his lungs scratched and pinched. 

He felt empty. Hollow. 

Cheated. 

She loved Will Graham. She loved Hannibal Lecter and they were going to keep her for themselves. That’s all he heard, Will this and Will that and Oh Dr. Lecter has an opinion...they needed to go. 

He was going to show them how much he hated them all together. 

He would show them how she wouldn't fit in their family, but she’d be ready for his. 



Chapter Text

Usually radio silence was a good thing, it meant that nothing bad had happened or nothing bad was currently happening. For the FBI, radio silence either meant you haven’t found the body, or the body was getting prepped to be found by the killer. 

In this case, radio silence had me on edge, I was certain it would be the latter. 

I sat in Chilton’s-Alana’s in a month or two- waiting room at the BSHCI, flipping through my phone as I waited for the man to come back from dealing with an attempted break out. ‘The security at the hospital has been revamped’ my ass, if a regular crazy could break out then what about the others?

Two days and nothing from Jane as well. I had cancelled my appointment the other day with him via voicemail, opting to have a calmer dinner again, in Dr. Lecter’s home with Will. 

Dr. Lecter was still interesting, the conversation had been good. But...it had felt wrong. Confiding in the two of them when Jane was hurting from what I had said. I sat back further in my chair and sighed. 

I hated men. 

I looked up at the door as a young girl suddenly appeared, eyes bouncing off everything before landing on me. 

“Dr. Chilton will be back soon, he had an errand.” I told the girl. 

She didn’t seem bothered by me. Just looked around the office, bored. 

“Hello?” 

The girl glitches suddenly, blood spilled from her neck and her skin burned black. 

I jumped, phone flying away from me and clattering to the floor. My heart jumped and I pitched forward, stopping halfway to the door as the girl simply smiled. 

There was an icy sensation running through my limbs. I recognized her. 

“Minnesota Shrike. You’re Abigail Hobbs.” I frowned, she looked different from what I pictured. 

She looked drained. 

This was the child that had tried to murder Will and Dr. Lecter. 

But she wasn’t living and breathing before me, I could see that much. 

She was dead. 

What the fuck

Children were easy, that’s why they made the best targets. The innocence they had, had always attracted the evils of the world. 

I could see Abigails emotions go across her face so clearly; starting from a worried tick of her eyebrow to the sad dip in her shoulders. 

I remembered the looks; looks of approval or disapproval from children. Always so eager to please and receive love and kind words from peers. 

Abigail and I stared at each other, and then I saw it. Hidden beneath a scarf.  

The scar. 

Where her father had tried to kill her. 

Just like mine had. 

“You’re dead.”

Her eyes kept flicking back and forth from the door to the window. 

I pulled out a cigarette from its pack and rolled the filter between my fingers as I watched her. 

This wasn’t an ordinary haunting of mine. The room was calm, cool. She just stood there. 

My knee slammed against the table when she appeared mext to Chilton’s pile of files on his desk. I yelped as they exploded everywhere, papers falling and drifting and hitting me in the face. I fell over the table and landed on my back, hitting my head on the floor. 

I groaned and rolled over trying to get up to see what she had done, but Abigail was gone by the time I sat up. 

There were no hundreds of papers falling from the sky, all the files were still on Chilton’s desk. Messy and unorganized but they hadn’t exploded. 

All that was left of her presence though, was a single file on the floor. 

There was a concerned shout to me down the hall and I shoved the file into my bag before the receptionist could come in. 

I assured the woman everything was fine, that I had just tripped over my own boot and had landed hard. She had nodded suspiciously before closing the door again behind her. I took out another cigarette and opened the window. 

The nicotine burned my throat on the first inhale and ripped my lungs apart on the shaky exhale. I watched the smoke curl up in the air before dissipating into the air way above us. My head started to pound

“They’re lying to you.”

“Jesus fuck.” 

I turned around at the voice, coughing in my inhale as the dead girl appeared at my side. 

He was right. 

Right about what?” 

“You.”

That was interesting.

“And the file?”

“SORRY!” 

I jumped as a Chilton slammed his door open with a bang. My nerves so fried I dropped my cigarette again and burnt my skin as it bounced off my wrist. 

Abigail was gone, the file was still unanswered in my bag. Chilton complained about the smell but I mentioned Alana’s anger at the possibility of a smoke scented room and he lightened up. 

When I mentioned Abigail though, Chilton whipped around to me, hands shaking around a drink.  

“You saw Abigail Hobbs?”

“I was waiting for you, dead people have a habit of coming to me when I’m completely relaxed.” I huffed, “When did she die? Beverly told me she was back at an institution but I wasn’t aware she was dead.”

Chilton looked at me incredulously, his mouth was hanging open like he was the one who saw her ghost. 

“Frederick?” I snapped my fingers and he just shook his head. 

“Abigail Hobbs was murdered in her room a month ago, we haven’t found her body. Someone took it. We haven’t...I haven’t released the information to the police.”

I felt the room drain of every source of light. I leaned back and let the depression leak out of me as we just watched each other. 

“Well. That explains why Alana’s taking over.”

“I’m stepping down due to my health.” He said sarcastically as he sipped his scotch. 

“You’re telling me that girl was dead-dead then. Just for sure?”

“Don’t you see dead people?” Chilton countered and I looked away. 

“I think they’re starting to feel more and more real.” I whispered.

I could remember feeling the warmth from her body right? Or maybe- she didn’t seem to stick to anything- but she moved on the ground-there was no blood or any marks from a death. 

“That seems like a conversation between you and Patrick Jane.” He eyed me carefully. 

Chilton looked at me the way he looked at Will, he could make a profit off of me until he died. But like Jack, Chilton’s felt me punch him before for getting too close as well. 

They hadn’t found her body, but her body was still on the grounds. Somewhere hidden, somewhere safe. Those who had killed her, loved her and were keeping her safe. 

I turned to the window and saw a reflection of doe eyes and a blank smile. 

They’re lying to you

 

—-

 

I watched my father devour the fast food junk I had brought with me, McDonalds may just kill him before the electric chair does with the way he was eating. 

I was playing with my new badge, flipping the plastic between my fingers as he read to me in between egg bites, the sloppily written notes Mackey had him take while they were talking so he could go over it later in his cell and blah, blah, blah. 

All this was showing me was that Mackey was smarter than I thought...and that my father was only human. After all these years of refusing to see him, it was like coming home almost? Familiarity. He never asked me endless questions about my life, about what I had been up to since I came back into his. 

He didn’t care about my life outside the murder. 

“Why don’t you ever ask about my personal life?” 

“Your personal life.” He stopped chewing and looked at me, “We’re not exactly a traditional family anymore.”

I folded my arms. He had a point if his prison jumpsuit was anything to go by. 

“Look Katie-q. I know that what happened made you forget. As long as I’m alive, I’ll protect you from yourself-“

“Speaking of fathers protecting daughters did you hear about Abigail Hobbs’ death?” I interrupted and he paused to think before nodding. 

“I do. I do remember that. Some of the guards were talking about it a while back. Shrike kid went missing but her room was a bloodbath.” He shrugged, “Why?” 

“...Abigail and I have a lot in common. We were both supposed to die, she knew people that I’m close to now.”

“Her father ate kids, I’m protecting you from yourself and before you go and say ‘Oh my goooood ’, you listen to me right now.” He snapped and slammed his fist on the table, I jumped and skidded in my chair, putting more distance between us. 

My father towered over me as best as he could, chained to the floor. 

“You have it. The disease, the mental illness whatever you want to call it, you have it. Same as grandpa and no, it didn’t skip you or another generation and Reese sure as hell didn’t have it.”

I looked away at the mention of my brother. I haven’t felt him or my mom again since I saw them outside my office. I wasn’t connected anymore. 

“Sit down.”

“Katie-“

“I’m saying sit down because a part of me may believe it now.”

My father literally fell back into his chair, knees giving out. He stared at me, I folded my arms and looked anywhere else but him. 

“I’m not a killer, I’m not a cold blooded killer like those who have suffered from this gene. But these ghosts, these girls keep calling out to me. They keep telling me to see, to look. I think they mean look at myself.”

“Oh, Katie. Sweetheart-“

“Just stay out of my head from now on alright? I need to figure this out.” I looked at the file poking out of my bag, “Answer the questions Jack Crawford’s given you and I’ll talk to Chilton about getting some extra leg room for you.”

“I don’t remember Mackey, his face changed too much. He never smelled the same, he always walked different to me I never knew he was here until I heard him say my name outside the cell.” He stretches his arms for a moment, “What does that therapist of yours think?”

I stayed silent and my dad groaned. 

“Katherine Morrison, do not tell me that you fought your therapist.” 

“It’s complicated.”

“Have a therapist help you with this should never-“

“There’s nothing wrong with me.” I snapped and pounded on the interrogation glass, “Get him out of here since he’s got nothing left to say.”

My phone rang as my dad just huffed and went back to his food. I answered it and stuck it on speaker as I lit a cigarette in front of him in anger. He glared. 

“Really? You’ve taken up smo-“

“Shut up. Morrison speaking.”

Silence. 

Click

“Wrong number then.” My dad muttered. 

 I looked up as two orderlies came in with a key and a trash can. I stared down at the unknown number, this was my work phone. I only had one phone and not many people had the number. 

I jumped as my phone lit up again and rang. I watched my phone for a second and even the guards hesitated. I hit speaker again. 

“Morrison.” 

“KATIE! KATIE COME QUICK -“

Click

The call ended once again. The four of us stood in the room, not breathing as the voice rang in the emptiness. Adrenaline shocked me into movement. 

“Get Chilton. NOW!” I yelled at the men and they left my dad and bolted out the door. 

“Katie?” My dad was watching me carefully, watching the phone-l. 

It rang again. Shrill and full of life. 

“Answer it. Same as before. Calm your breathing nothing is wrong.” My dad pushed my phone closer over the table, “Breathe Katie.”

“Morrison.” I spoke up as I answered again, the click of the speaker was frightening. 

The heavy weight of the guttural breathing on the other end was something else entirely. 

“This is a government official number, if-“

Katherine.”

My father fell over from his chained position, eyes wide as his knees buckled from beneath him. 

Thus...with a kiss….I die.”

Click

The line went dead and my phone background stared up at me. My father's breathing was heavy and labored. Scared. I couldn’t move myself, I looked up, confused as Chilton came running in with Barry on another phone, out of breath. 

“Mackey.” My father choked out, “That was him. His voice-”

“Get him up, secure his wrists and…” Chilton’s voice faded out as I watched my father watch me worriedly.  

“I need to sit down.” I whispered, everyone stepped away from me like I was the plague. 

My father voiced goodbye as he was taken away to be interviewed in another room, I left my phone on that table and I wasn’t planning on getting it back. 

I made my way out of the room and into the hall where I promptly crumpled and sank to the floor against the wall. 

Mackey had my number. Mackey was someone I had in my contacts list. 

I left quickly, leaving behind a note and number for Chilton before I slid into my car. I ripped open my glove box and pulled out the old school Nokia, a phone no one on this earth knew I had. 

Jack picked up on the first ring. 

“Mackey just killed my ex and someone else. We have two bodies...it won’t be pretty.”

 

Thirty minutes later, I sat in the lot across from Dr. Lecter’s office, the lights inside were still on but I had seen no shadows. 

Inside, I found no receptionist like last time, but last time I had Will to bounce off of and depend on for conversation and safety. 

I was the FBI, fuck it, I was here on business. 

I stopped from barging in, hand on the doorknob as I hesitated. 

This wasn’t...nice? I shook my head and took a step back, what the hell was I doing here? I should be back at the office with Jack tracing the call and-

And Dr. Lecter was only a mutual friend. Not someone I could just use for answers. 

“Katherine?” 

I turned as Dr. Lecter opened the door and led a man out who resembled a rat. He walked by quietly without so much as a nod to Dr. Lecter or me. 

“I’m sorry if I disturbed your session.” 

“Unfortunately, matters of the heart are not as easily fixed as matters of the mind.” He motioned for me to come in, “Mind over matter, heart over mind.”

“Hopeless romantic. In love with being in love.” I added, following him in and gazing again at the library he had. 

“Are you trying to analyze my client or give me insight to your own life?” Dr. Lecter joked, I made a face. 

“Thus, with a kiss, I die.”

“Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare, a romantic tragedy.”

“It’s also what Mackey just told me about an hour ago while I was on the phone with my dad.” I felt my heart pick up as Dr. Lecter watched me. 

“He called you?” Dr. Lecter stopped by his desk and cocked his head, “Isn’t this something the FBI-“

Please , please tell me it’s not Will.”

I spun to the man who didn’t even seem surprised at my accusation for a moment. He collected himself and set down the pencil he had picked up. 

“You believe Mackey is Will?” 

“There’s too many coincidences. I can’t ignore them. The dead girls, they’re telling me to look, to see. Mackey is always around me somehow, I just don’t know it. Even the dead spirit of Abigail Hobbs was pointing me in a direction I don’t understand yet.”

“Abigail Hobbs?” Dr. Lecter’s emotions betrayed him for a moment, I saw sadness and hope followed by pain.

“I understand Will and you were close to her. Like surrogate fathers, before she tried to kill you two.” 

Dr. Lecter seemed taken off guard, his shoulders slumped and his eyes looked heavy for a moment. 

“Abigail was family to us, through tragedy as well. Unfortunately the poison her father put into her mind, unraveled in the end.” He sighed, “What did she show you?” 

I took the file out and opened it. 

It was my file. From when I had been admitted to the hospital all those years ago. Dr. Lecter carefully took it from me, keeping a respectable distance from touching me. I didn’t really care. 

“Everything is blacked out.” He mused, flipping through the pages, “This isn’t an official report?” 

“That’s a separate report. The one released to public files is the one you’re thinking of.”

Dr. Lecter looked at me incredulously.

“You did not see her spirit, Katie. I believe what you see are manifestations of clues you do not know how to process completely. What can be an obvious clue to you could take weeks for forensics to find.”

“Yeah, I know they’re not real. If they were, they’d hurt me.” 

“Jacks signature is on all of these.” He looked at me again, “I understand he and his late wife Bella had taken you in and raised you?”

“For a bit. Until I couldn’t handle it and they couldn’t handle it. But I was fine in my own.” I nodded, “So why is Jack keeping my crimes a secret?”

“Your crimes?” He set the file down, “You're not the one killing these people, Katherine. People have been with you when they happened.”

“I’m not saying I am. I’m saying what if it’s right? What if all that blacked out shit is the truth? That I did it and I kickstarted this maniac.”

“The incredible power of the overthinker.” Dr. Lecter sat down and I finally copied, sinking into one of his patients chairs, “How often do you jump to conclusions in cases?” 

“Right away. Most of the time they’re right.”

“Why are you taking the responsibility of another man's actions?”

“I have the power to stop him. If I know who he is, it’ll give me a leg up on him. Instead, I’ll be the one stalking him.”

“Stalking.”

“If it’s not someone in my list, then it’s someone I just met within a year. Mackey knew I’d be with my dad and he knew me well enough to know I’ll answer a call no matter what.” I started to feel myself race in my head, “So if Will is Mackey that makes total sense because Will’s been there since the beginning, he knows everything that went into what happened to me as a kid and he knows what I went through. If he-“

“Katie. I will stop you right there.” Dr. Lecter held up a hand to silence me and I felt my mind quiet as well, “Will Graham is not this killer Mackey...have you considered your own psychiatrist, Patrick Jane as a suspect?” 

“Why would Jane want to hurt me?”

Buzzzzz. Buzzz. 

I felt my pocket vibrate and I panicked for a moment. Dr. Lecter watched as I took the Nokia out and clicked open the message, Unknown number again. 

I know where you are katieq  

I dropped the phone and pulled my knees to my chest, panic made me start to shake. I slumped forward and covered my eyes with my heels, digging in. 

Dr. Lecter picked the phone up delicately with his handkerchief before he placed it on his desk. I shook my head and felt my body go haywire. 

“Katherine.”

When I looked up Dr. Lecter wasn’t Dr. Lecter, it was Jane. Dropping in blood and oozing black liquid from his eyes. 

I screamed and fell back over the chair, slamming my head on the floor again as Dr. Lecter hovered around me, careful not to touch. 

“Katherine, Katherine I need you to focus on the sound of my voice.” Dr. Lecter’s voice crashed through the sea of panic in my mind as I sat up, “Where are you?”

“I saw...I saw him bleeding-“

“You are in Baltimore at my office-“

“It can’t be Jane, why would they show me this-“

“It is almost noon. You have been here for-“

I closed my eyes and squeezed my arms around me on the floor. I could feel them touching me, they were yelling at me to open my eyes and look. To look at what he did to them. 

The last thing I heard before I blacked out was the sound of a pen scratching against paper. 

 

—-

 

I was standing above them, standing in the warm blood and soft skin of the dead. Two lifeless forms melted into the fire beneath my feet as blood ran in skinny rivulets down my arms. The blood tasted sweet as my fingers curled around bones and sliced open my skin-

The nicotine I blew out shook me from my daydream as I stood behind the police tape in front of my house.

 I let the half finished cigarette drop from my fingers and hit the wet pavement as a tall man stopped next to me. 

“Inside your house?” Dr. Lecter offered a cup of coffee, hand barely holding it. 

“He used my old phone that was locked in my closet. Jack should have it at the lab by now.” 

“You’re scared.” 

I took in a deep breath, shaking despite the layers on me. 

“I’m scared of who I think it may be now.” I looked around me, nobody was near us but it felt like I was being watched. 

“Has Jane hurt you?” 

“What? No.” 

“You know I am a psychiatrist. I can tell when someone is lying to my face.” Dr. Lecter’s mouth twitched in a barely there smile, “How many sessions have you cancelled since the dinner?”

“Every single one.” I bit out, “I can’t look at him. I feel horrible for telling Will that just for him to shove it in his face like it was a good thing.”

“You’re afraid of him being cross with you.” Dr. Lecter analyzes, “You feel as if you owe him everything for helping you but you don’t want to give him everything. You're afraid that he might see you how you see yourself.”

I looked at the older doctor, eyes wide. I owed Jane my life, yeah I’ve told him that a million times but...Jane looked at me like I was everything sometimes, and I couldn’t even muster up enough courage to touch him. 

“You’re not weak, Katie.” Dr. Lecter looked over to my house, “Your killer thinks you’re weak, ruled by your emotions and what you can’t see. A psychic link can be caused by an overactive imagination .”

“You saying I’m a fake?”

“I’m saying that if you stop pretending to see ghosts, you’ll see the real threats in your life.” Dr. Lecter sniffed as the police wrapped up the search, “Have you been smoking a lot lately?”

“I know I reek of smoke, Dr. Lecter.”

“Addictions can hurt, no matter how satisfied we think they make us feel in the moment. We'll always want more once we get a taste of it.”

I spotted Will coming out of my house, talking to a burly security guard, courtesy of Alana and Margot no doubt. 

Will walked towards us from the house and I ducked under the tape to meet him halfway. 

Forensics found nothing, nothing looked weird when I had gone home anyways with Lecter speeding behind me in my tail.

 Nothing was out of place other than my closet door had been left wide open. I sighed and sat down on my steps as Will went to talk with Dr. Lecter. 

I lived out in the middle of nowhere, my neighbors next door owned land and some horses but right now there weren’t any animals milling about. I couldn’t even spot a chicken in their pasture.

There was just flashing lights and police walking about looking for clues. 

“How are you?” Will asked, I clutched the warm cup of coffee, still not being drunk. 

“He got into my house, Will. This isn’t a game anymore. Dr. Lecter’s right, if I have a chance I’m gonna kill him.”

“Killing him won’t stop the nightmares.” Will shook his head, “Trust me. I thought I had killed my worst nightmare a long time ago, turns out I didn’t need to.”

“Yeah, well at least your stag nightmare doesn’t break into your closet.” I muttered. 

“You’re going to spend the night with me at Wolf Trap and the dogs. It’s not safe here for you.” Will looked up, brown eyes searching mine for a moment.

I looked away but nodded, he was right. I didn’t even want to be here right now. Right now spending the night surrounded by dogs didn’t seem bad at all. 

There was one person who knew me better than Will, better than Dr. Lecter’s psychoanalysis and I wasn’t about to play this fucking game anymore. Not in my own fucking house where I sleep. 

“I need to call someone.” I stood back up and dialed a number. 

 

 

Jane lived on the opposite end of Baltimore, in a similar rich neighborhood to Dr. Lecter’s but Jane didn’t have a mansion of that sort. 

My car rumbled in his driveway loudly, I kept my foot on the gas and revved until I could see some sort of movement behind his curtains.

 Fuck it. 

If Jane was my fucking killer I was going to take him out myself. 

The switchblade in my pocket didn’t give me any confidence, the things he had done to those bodies. And the fucking fake stomach issues? 

Before I could slam my car door behind me, the front door opened and Jane stepped out. 

We stood staring at each other, several feet apart. Jane seemed relaxed, like nothing was wrong with the emergency phone call I had faked on the way over. 

“Are you wanting to come in, Katherine?”

Oh, so now I’m Katherine? Since when am I Katherine?

“Yeah.”

I followed him inside and to his home office, the house was warm but nothing seemed off. I tried to focus and call in for the dead but nothing was working to get a read off of him. This man that I had known for the better part of a year I suddenly couldn’t cold read him and his emotions. Jane was always open and honest with me…

He was never closed off around me…

I sat down in my chair as Jane took his. He was barefoot, jeans and a simple black shirt. The most I’ve ever seen him in relaxed clothing, even his hair wasn’t gelled. He looked every bit of the typical Aussie surfer right down to his sparkling ocean eyes. 

Fuck. 

No. 

“So what do I owe this surprise visit?” Jane’s eyes traveled over me before firmly sticking to the left of my head, “You’ve cancelled every time slot we've had, I thought you were cutting me off entirely this time. I’ve been waiting for that call after all.”

Something similar to dread and guilt clawed its way up my spine as the knife dug into my skin at an angle. 

“Mackey called me from inside my house.” I started and Jane’s eyebrows shot up. 

Okay. Not the surprised reaction I anticipated. 

“He what!?” Jane looked at me wildly, eyes roaming over what he could take in. 

I could see the panic set back into his eyes, the concern. Every emotion poured off of him and I felt the tension break and snap and meld again as he struggled not to come closer to me. He sputtered and fell back against his seat uselessly as he tried to calm himself down. His hands shook, anxiety. 

“And I’m guessing Jack Crawford is looking into it as best he can now isn’t he?”

“Can’t exactly go off anything when he used my phone. It’s at the lab but I’m not expecting anything to come back.”

“Where were you? For him to be at the house.” Jane got up and started pacing. 

“I was at the hospital interviewing my dad again.” I paused and Jane stopped, “I didn’t tell Jack....”

“What?” 

“Before he called, there was a girl screaming my name.” I watched Jane’s face as he took it in. 

Nothing. No recognition or anything to solidify my thoughts on Jane being my killer. 

All Jane was guilty of was wanting to date me and hitting on me. And I was so against people I had written him off as some creep. 

Jane wasn’t my killer. Jane just loved me and I wanted nothing to do with that so I was trying to write him off and send him far away from me. 

God. 

I put my head in my hands again and shook, Jane’s soft voice washed over me as he came and knelt near me. Jane had loved me for who I was and had never judged me even when we weren’t in our sessions. He was the closest thing I had to a friend these days. 

It would have been too perfect if Jane had ended up my killer. 

“I’m sorry I pushed you away, this whole thing has messed me up.” I sniffled and tried to hold back the lump of tears in my throat. 

Jane stayed still near me on the floor. Present and understanding. I could feel my body burning from him being too close but it wasn’t painful anymore, uncomfortable and constant but there was no pain. 

“Would you like to see another psychiatrist? I’m more than willing to give you a good referral-”

“No. No I want to see you , Jane.” 

Jane’s bright smile broke through the murderous rage I had been building up in my head for the drive over. 

Dr. Lecter and Will were wrong, Jane wasn’t out to destroy me or kill me. 

That didn’t leave a lot of people left on the list of who wanted me dead though. 

 

—-

 

Standing back in my house was eerie, even with all of the lights on it still seemed too dark. Too crowded. 

After Jane, I had to go back to the office and fill out paperwork and go and recount everything for Jack to record. The rest of my afternoon I spent talking too much to too many people who really didn’t care in the end. 

Hanging out in the morgue with Zeller and Price had uplifted my spirits a little bit before reality had crushed me back to earth again. 

What was worrying me was the lack of dead people hanging around me. Usually I felt them all the time, peeking around corners too quickly for me to focus on.

 A part of me wanted Dr. Lecter to be right, maybe realizing my imagination was too much had cut off my dead people powers. 

I sighed as I stuffed clothes into a bag, making sure to pack extra socks because Will’s dogs were secret hellions when they wanted to be. I was tired. I wanted to sleep and be done with this case. 

I wish I had never met Jack Crawford, now that would be a more accurate wish. 

All I wanted to do was fall asleep listening to Will’s house move in the forest. I stuffed my phone into my pocket, Jack had given it back but there was nothing so I may as well just keep it on in case. GPS and everything else had been disconnected, the techs were protecting me yet leaving me entirely exposed on this device. 

They had disabled my camera as well on my request. 

I walked down into my living room and tossed the bag on the couch, god who the hell was Mackey then? Not Jane and not Will...my hand hovered over my favorite blanket on the couch, I couldn’t touch it. 

I literally could not bring myself to touch it, it was like the air around my house turned icy. 

Mackey had touched it. He had been all over my house and touched my things. I felt sick, I closed my eyes and breathed in for a few moments. I couldn’t see the dead, but I could see what the living had done to my house. 

When I opened my eyes, it was like I could see a trail of blood over everything I owned. Circling around the tv, spread over the furniture and the carpet. Leaving a trail behind like a snail. 

I followed the trail to the hallway, hand touching and dipping into the blood as it dropped to the floor and slithered over to my bed. 

The walls were dripping and crying in blacks and reds, the sheets were soaked and stained. 

Will was right. Whoever Mackey was, he wanted to consume me. He wanted to slaughter. 

I jumped as my regular phone rang in my pocket and just like that I was standing in a clean room, nothing out of place. I fumbled with the phone before answering it, heart beating and breath short. 

“Morrison.”

“Katie? Hi, it’s Joan your neighbor. We just heard some loud booms outside in our barn and we didn’t know with the police over there today and all-”

“I’ll come over in a second.” I reassured her and hung up. 

I reached into the hidden panel in my closet and took out the shotgun I had stored. 

At least this was one thing nobody knew about. I forgot I had it there most of the time. 

I had stepped outside and locked my door when I heard a loud boom come from their barn myself, their lights flicked on the porch at their house as I jogged barefoot across the lawns. 

Two more loud bangs went off before I managed to get to the porch and meet the older farmer. 

“Hey John, your wife just called?”

“You hear that racket? Ain’t the Wiles either they’re outta town and nobody got access to those woods.”

“Yeah, yeah John I know.” I waved him off as he led me inside where Joan and her older son were at. 

The loud noise had woken them all up, the kid was still rubbing the sleep from his eyes. 

“What were the police doing over there today?” Joan asked as I checked the rounds in my gun. 

“Just a little work scare, Joan. Everything is alright though, you know how extra the feds can be. You sure that’s not any of your equipment meal-“

A loud, shrill scream ripped through the air and made us whip around to the front door.

 That came from the woods.

There was a flurry of panic as I jogged through their house and found the attic door. Their son helped me up as Joan went to call back Jack on my cell phone. 

The kid and I pried open the attic window and looked out to the woods. The horses were out near the fence, ears alert and watching something. 

“Here.” The son handed me old binoculars but I couldn’t see much as the evening sky continued to darken, “Anything?”

“The animals know soemthing’s up-FUCK!”

There was a flash of light, it blinded my eyes in the binoculars and I ripped them away. The son exclaimed at the same time I did, but by the time I squinted, the flash from the light was gone. 

“You saw that? What was it?” 

“It looked like someone turned on a giant light bulb and it sparked out.” He panicked as I looked through the window again, the animals were snorting so loud I could hear from here. 

Then the most guttural, shrill scream echoed throughout the woods and reverberated in my bones.

A human scream. 

Mackey

I jumped back through the attic hole, the son quick behind me as I shouted for them to lock all doors and windows. Joan and her husband were confused as I tossed the son my shotgun and pushed over their cabinet against the kitchen door. 

“Nobody in or out. When is Crawford going to be here?” I ordered. 

“The man said he was coming right away-Katie I don’t understand why there was a loud scream is ev-“

“Don’t come out until the police get here. Do you understand?” I was out of breath, the son and I locked eyes but he nodded firmly, “Push this up when I leave. Stay away from the windows. Trust no one except a uniformed officer, if you can, ask for Will Graham.”

“Wait-“

I slammed the door shut behind me and heard the cabinet be moved against it. 

I took off across the pasture, barefoot and in pain as the horses ran past me at a full gallop, the goats and sheep ran from the edge of the woods and to the safety of their stalls as well, braying and calling out like the devil was near. 

My breath tasted like blood as I tripped and stumbled my way across, all I could feel were the pricks and pins in my fingertips from the cold. There were no more noises in the woods, no more light and no more screams. 

I propelled myself over the fence and slowed down, I had seen the light straight ahead. A giant light bulb he had said, it had looked like a camera flash more to me.  

Mackey had to be here then. Mackey was setting up the crime scene. 

Then I heard it. A loud rumble, then the fluttering of birds taking off through the trees. 

I ran forward and stopped underneath a fallen tree as I crept closer to the noises. 

I stopped creeping along the tree line when I saw it. 

One half of the container had been painted with black and greens and browns to blend in. But one half remained stark white so that even the blind could see it. 

A happy face, written in red, still dripping in the night. 

I didn’t even have my fucking gun. I snapped a branch in half and got up, holding it down as I crept to one side of the container, it was cold but I could hear movement inside. 

He was here. Mackey was here. There was a tiny ticking noise before soft floodlights filtered through the cracks in the doors. 

There was a hum of a generator somewhere off in the trees and I froze as I heard the container door open and someone step out. I breathed out long and slow as I pressed myself into the container wall, branch out in front of me. 

I could take him out, I could kill Mackey. 

You’re a killer, it’s in your genes. 

I shook my father out of my head as I crawled towards the opposite end from where Mackey was. He moved around the box, feet loud on the forest floor as I backed my way to the doors. 

Help.”

A voice inside the container. Dying. 

I hit the doors open with my shoulders and held the weapon out in front of me. 

“FBI PUT-“

Rotting flesh. Blood. 

I was thrown off balance by the stench of decay that I slipped on the floor to my knees and my stick spun out of my hands. 

“Oh my god.”

I didn’t even get to exhale. I was shoved, hands grabbed my shoulders and threw me to the ground. I screamed as blood splashed against my face from the floor. I was grabbed again, pulled up by the collar of my jacket and slammed against the wall. 

He was touching me. Mackey was-

Mackey. 

Mackey slammed his fist into the curve of my neck and shoulder and I crumbled into myself. 

My breath was coming short again, I was covered in blood-whose blood?- my skin was itching. 

I was screaming. 

Fighting back. 

I scratched and clawed and kicked. His bare skin brushed against mine as he pulled my wrists forward and slammed them on his knee. 

Cracks. Cracks from what? Bones splitting? Everything hurt-

He was wearing a mask. That much I could tell. Mackey hauled me up again and hit me in the stomach twice before sending a hard slap against my face and pushing me into the wall. 

I slid down the wall, head spinning as blood swirled around me. Someone was crying. Someone is making my ribs hurt I couldn’t see-dizzy- I hurt. Everywhere. My face, my body-

Mackey grabbed me by the hair and I screamed, digging my teeth into his thigh. He yelled and kicked me straight in the hip. 

I heard something rip but pain blossomed everywhere through my blood. 

My vision began to white out as I sprawled on the ground. I could taste fresh, warm blood trickle out from my nose and down my face to mix with whatever I was laying in. 

When I looked through the haze I saw them. 

A young girl lying on her side with her lips sewn to a man who was bound to a chair. 

Hugh. Alive. He cried and screamed beneath the stitches as I struggled to get up. 

A foot slammed down in the middle of my back and my ribs groaned and my lungs pinched. 

Mackey flipped me over, I grabbed onto his foot as he pressed down on my throat. I grabbed and clawed at his calves, twisting and trying to dig my nails in. 

There was a fist coming down. 

One punch. 

I let go. 

Two punches. 

I can’t see. 

Three. 

Hugh gets his neck cut open. 

Four. 

I can’t-

Six. 

Where am-

The girl. 

Mackey. 

Through pain, I watched as blood leaked from Hugh’s mouth and painted their chins crimson from where they were tied in the middle of the container. 

Mackey stood over me. 

I could barely breathe. I couldn’t see. I could feel him. Feel his hands over my-

Oh god, he was really touching me. 

Mackey hauled me up by my hair, I attempted to grab him but he slapped me away. There was a sharp searing pain in my right eye and I screamed, I screamed as I felt flesh melt away into blood. I grabbed my face but Mackey just twisted the hand in my hair. 

“Please...don’t hurt…hurt....” I spit out, crying as Mackey leaned forward and inhaled my scent from my broken collarbone to my temple. 

Gorgeous. Even in pain.”

Mackey’s bare hand closed around my throat as he threw me back onto the ground. 

I groaned as my head cracked and he stopped moving. 

In a last ditch effort, cupped the liquid I was in and splashed him in his eye, he recoiled back and I managed to send my foot straight into his kidney. 

I flipped over on my stomach and pulled myself along the floor. I pulled. 

And pulled 

Mackey stood up. 

I cried out in pain. 

I pulled. 

And then nothing.

 

—-

 

The hospital 

 

I was aware of a bed and soft sheets before I was aware of the bleach in the air. 

There was a pounding in the right side of my head and a ringing in that same ear as light leaked in through my eyes. 

My body aches and pulled in the wrong places as I woke up and moved. 

A sharp pain in my lungs caused me to stop breathing for a moment as my heart felt ready to explode. The machine beeped as my heart rate accelerated once I opened my eyes. 

Eye. 

I couldn’t see anything out of my right eye. 

You’re awake.”

I cringed as Abigail Hobbs’ blurry face swam in front of my vision. 

I stared at her until the sickness passed and I could see the glitch in her skin. She wasn’t real. 

“Am I dead?”

The voice that came from my throat sounded like I had ascended from Hell. 

No.”

I could barely move my body. I felt paralyzed. 

“Ab...Abigail…” my throat clicked and her eyes went to the water next to my bed, “Where…what…”

Fucking hell I wake up and this demon child was around me. I panicked and looked around for the emergency button, I grabbed it so hard my wrist twinged and the plastic cracked. 

When I looked back around the room there was no one there, there was a sudden flurry of commotion from outside my door. I had been holding the emergency button longer than necessary. 

Nurses and doctors barged in followed by a very giant Jack Crawford shouting nonsense. 

To hear that booming voice, my fucking god I almost fucking cried. I heard Chilton come in and go over the tubes hooked up to me as my heart rate dropped down to normal. 

Fucking hell that ghost kid scared me. 

Jack’s voice washed over me explaining what time and where I was and how worried he was as he helped me down two glasses of water. 

“What’s going on?” I looked at them and tried to push away from the bed, “Abigail-” 

“Hobbs?” Jack repeated and raised an eyebrow, “What do you know about Abig-“

“KATIE! KATIE!” 

“Will?” I leaned forward as Will came rushing into the room, slamming against the door and skidding in his boots with his hair wild. 

“Oh my god, oh my god you’re alive.” Will let out a strangled sound of relief and collapsed next to my bed. 

He spread his hands out wanting to touch, my hands twitched from their still place on the bed. 

“I thought you had died. They found you on the side of the road half dead-“

“Will, I’m okay.” 

“I should have gone with you back to your place to get your things-“

“Will...I don’t remember what happened to me.” 

Everyone stared at me. 

“I remember leaving my house and running across the lawn but after that. Nothing.” I looked at Jack curiously, “Did someone else die?” 

“You don’t know who was in the container in the woods behind your property.”

“Container? In the woods?” I looked between them as my mind raced. 

I had no idea what they were talking about. A migraine started to form as I tried to remember the events. It was hazy. Leaving my house.
Being scared. 

I had done something monumental recently, hadn’t I? I looked at my fingers, there was blood caked underneath one nail. I remembered something cold, something wet against my skin. 

Mackey .” I breathed out his name as soft, evil laughter ranf in my mind, “He was there. I didn’t kill him.”

“Why didn’t you wait for backup?” Jack cursed and turned away, “Katherine you almost died!”

“I couldn’t let him get away.” I responded. 

Why was everyone mad at me? Had I done something bad to Mackey?

“Did you at least get a good look at him?” Jack demanded as I heard Dr. Lecter walked in with a tall blonde man. 

“I don’t.I-I can’t really remember Jack, I’m sorry.”

“How can you not remember you were right there!” Jack slammed a hand on the wall and I flinched, the machines beeped and went off, “You remember his name!?”

“Jack. She has been through a great ordeal, interrogation isn’t going to do anyone good here.” Dr. Lecter grabbed Jack’s arm, “She needs rest.”

“How are you?” Jane sat down on my bed, I could feel Will’s eyes on both of us. 

“I may have to up my therapy sessions.” I tried to smile but felt my lip split.

Jane looked broken, lost. His eyes were wide and glassy as he looked over me. 

“This is...I’m so sorry that happened Katie.” Jane started to breath deep, “When Jack called me and said that they had found you...you had been missing for ten hours. Someone had found you crawling across the highway with half your skull cracked open.”

“There’s also more bad news.” Jack returned and I looked away from Jane’s broken expression, “Whoever Mackey is, he’s teamed up with the Ripper.”

Nobody else reacted except for me. 

“The fucking Chesapeake Ripper!?”

“I’ll calm her down.” Dr. Chilton sighed as my heart raced and cut my lungs in half. 

Some medication settled in my limbs like a heavy blanket a minute later as it traveled through a tube. I glared, Chilton gave a tight smile. 

“We have three bodies now. Hugh Charmont, the girl is a Jane Doe, and the son of your neighbor.” Jack said, “The Ripper strung them up.”

“The son?” 

“He tried to play hero, apparently. Parents say they started to hear you yell and he ran outside. Mackey got to him.”

“So where does the Ripper fit in?” I asked, I started to feel an uncomfortable pressure behind my right eye, “They’re working together then for sure?”

Jack hesitated as he glanced to Will. 

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

They’re lying to you. 

“He took Mackey’s kills from him and displayed them. The Ripper is letting him know that he wants Mackey dead.” Will whispered to me in answer, “We’re expecting something from the Butcher soon, he always follows behind the Ripper eventually.”

I nodded in thanks, thank god for Will. I let it go and closed my eyes before I rested against the pillow for a moment. 

“What’s wrong with my face? What happened to me?” 

I could feel the cuts and scrapes and gashes along my skin and my muscles were so fucking sore. Half my body was in a brace, my head was wrapped and everything else was a mess of white and pink bandages. 

I could feel Mackey’s handprints on me like burns. Clawing and bubbling my skin like tar. 

“Do you know what heterochromia is?” Dr. Lecter asked as he held my file. 

“No.”

“Two different eye colors.” Will offered and Dr. Lecter nodded. 

“Brought on through genes or extreme trauma to the eye. The trauma to your skull and the right side of your face has given you this condition.” Dr. Lecter spoke. 

“Bedside manners, Dr. Lecter?” Jane snapped, I waved off his concern. 

“You’re going to be half blind in your right eye.” Will supplied the answer when I opened my mouth to question again, “You were a mess when they brought you in.Nobody recognized you here until they pulled fingerprints. ”

“How long was I out?”

“You’ve been out by yourself for a day or two. We’ve had you under for about two and a half weeks now.” 

“...Put me under again.” I groaned. 

Will smiled.

“Any pain specifically in your eye?” Dr. Lecter asked. 

“It’s uncomfortable. I can’t really feel it to be honest.” I frowned, “I thought you weren’t this kind of doctor anymore?”

“One of my colleagues will be treating you after today, I wanted to make sure this was accurate,”

“I asked him too.” Will admitted. I couldn’t help but look down, I could feel the heat rise up in my cheeks. 

“Drugs are working nicely.” Jane smiled softly as he stared at me, unmoving and sad. 

“He was angry, he went for your face. The one thing he loved the most.” Will crossed his arms as he glared at Jane, “Guess he doesn’t love you as much as he claimed to have loved you.”

“I scared him. I got the jump on him and he freaked out. Somehow I scared him into hurting me. He never would have if he wasn’t afraid of me.” I pulled at a band aid on my finger, “He won’t hurt me like that again. It was an accident.”

“You’re saying the serial killer is scared of you?” Jack asked skeptically, “That his love for you caused this?”

“Not of me physically . But he’s scared of something now and it’s not getting arrested.” I looked pointedly to Jack before I felt sleep tug at me from the drugs, “I’m tired.” 

“Do you mind if I have a moment with my own patient then, please?” Jane asked the room, everyone nodded and filed out silently. 

“How are you really?” Jane asked as the door closed and the stillness of the room surrounded us. 

I let out a broken half laugh. 

“I’m fucking scared, Jane. I’m fucking scared.” I closed my eye and felt tears form as the headache pounded on my nerves, “I can’t seem to think straight anymore. I’m not seeing the dead, Mackey is someone that was in this fucking room and I don’t know who it is. It’s terrifying.”

“Get off this case, I’m strongly advising you too. No negotiations with Jack. Walk away from the bureau for good.”

“Jane…”

“This case is affecting the both of you. He used to kill for attention and he lost it when he finally saw you. All that longing and frustration and look what he did.” 

Jane reached out and I flinched, pulling away back into my pillow. Jane’s face crumpled and he looked away. 

“I’m going to find Mackey, Jane. I’m not going to let him hurt anyone else.”

Jane nodded and sighed sadly. He seemed at a loss for words as he looked outside and then to the hospital blanket. 

“Katherine...Katie, I have to assign you a new psychiatrist. Due to personal issues I don’t think I can help you anymore.”

Silence. 

Dread. 

I felt my heart drop into my stomach as Jane looked at me again. 

“You’re leaving me?” 

The voice that came out of my throat was not my own. That voice was broken and hurt and sounded small. 

“I’m sorry, Katie. It’s for the best.” 

I don’t know what happened. One moment Jane was sitting there and the next he was gone. All I could smell was the ocean and Australian cologne. 

Or maybe that had always been Jane. 

I felt empty. 

Jane had-

 He had- 

I cried.

 I cried until I was screaming into my pillow. 

I cried until nurses ran in and administered more drugs into my system and I cried in pain until they strapped my arms down when I tried to grab their throats. 

I cried and I cried until all that was left was a hollow shell inside my heart. 

Everyone left. 

They always do and I was left to pick up the pieces of that connection again. 




Chapter Text

I stared at my reflection for the hundredth time as I touched the skin around my face. 

The worst of the bruising was slowly fading away, the stitches and braces had come off a week go and the check up yesterday had confirmed I was healing correctly. They were monitoring my eye for infection now mainly, if all goes well, then I’d be driving away in my car this time next Tuesday. 

“How does it feel to be in new skin?” Dr. Lecter asked as he walked back into the room. 

“Different. It won’t scar that bad I’m told.” I adjusted the eye patch over my head, “I keep telling myself that I’ll look, but I can’t bring myself to take the damn thing off.”

“Language.”

I nodded in apology, turning away from the bathroom mirror and shuffling over to the table where he was setting out food. I watched cars drive by outside as he cracked open the window. 

“Patrick Jane visited my office this morning before I came here.” He watched me carefully, “He overstepped a boundary Katie, that is not your fault. He took the appropriate measures to distance himself from you.”

“I just thought...we made up and then Mackey got to me and then he left.” I looked down at the meat in the bowl and pushed it around for a moment, “A lot of this is my fault.”

“And now Mackey has gone silent since you were attacked and the Ripper is taking the credit.”

I shook my head as I recalled Freddie’s headline on her site, that woman ate up anything. 

“Mackey isn’t the Ripper and vice versa. Everyone’s just so wrong. I’m not even sure there is a true connection between the two of them other than the fact that they’re both active in Baltimore.”

“You’re not concerned the Ripper may be after you?” Dr. Lecter paused mid-bite, “Or the Butcher?”

“Yeah about him, I’ve never heard of ‘The Butcher’ until now. He’s his up and coming student?” I shook my head, “The Ripper took the bodies and the Butcher hacked at them and then the Ripper went back to string them up? What kind of fucked up relationship…”

I trailed off but Dr. Lecter looked up expectantly. 

“They showed you a message.” He took a bite of his food, “It would be rude not to listen.”

“I don’t know what the Ripper would want with me. Maybe he sees an ally against Mackey but the day I help a serial killer is the day I become one.” I started eating “Or even, why is he so after Mackey? Why protect me of all people? Is it protection? Stealing Mackey's kill was just to piss him off and show him that he could. Mackey killed the kid just to show that he could still have control.”

My neighbors had immediately moved away, I was told. Not even a note taped to the door saying goodbye. There was a brief flash of heat throughout my skin as images of dead bodies in muck and blood filled my senses. 

“How is Will? He’s been spending most of his time here.” Dr. Lecter changed the subject and I shrugged. 

“He’s fine. We’ve been going over the photos together to jog my brain a bit. He’s been helping me with writing too.” 

I could barely write my own name now from the hits to the temple. I was thankful I still had control over my body. Fucking lucky is an understatement. I got out alive. That’s all I could say

“Will cares about you, you’re his family in a way.”

“Am I? Or are you?” I challenged, eyeing the older man across the table top. 

Dr. Lecter set his fork down and watched me before there was an upward tick in his lip. 

“I care for Will, yes. He cares for you.” He studied me with a gentle smile, “ I’m beginning to see why he was so adamant about me throwing the dinner.”

“He made you do that? He said we were invited.” I laughed. 

“You were. By him. Will’s mind is an endless palace of tricks up his sleeves.”

“He’s not responsible for what happens to me either. Maybe in college he was my protector, but I don’t need him sending a guard dog to check up on me.” I couldn’t finish the food, I was starting to feel sick again, “It’s bad enough Abigail has started showing up now.”

“You and Abigail are similar. Two halves of a life. Fathers who killed their family and left their teenage daughters to roam amongst the pieces with the world watching them.”

“She has the scar I’m supposed to have.” I touched my neck and imagined scarred skin there, “We have similar fathers but that’s where it ends. I may have killed my family, she didn’t kill her mother.”

“You’re still suspicious of the reports from Jack?”

“I’m suspicious there was a second interview with Jack that’s been blacked out about me on his orders. Jack’s been a wild card to the Bureau for a long time but he gets results so they keep him around.”

“Dear Uncle Jack caused Will to have encephalitis, his empathy and being thrown into gruesome cases too fast took a toll on him. If it wasn’t for me or even Alana Bloom, Will would be here locked up as well.”

“You don’t trust Jack either.” I smirked. 

“About as far as I can throw him.” Dr. Lecter joked, “Don’t let him abuse you as well.”

“What was Abigail like? She loved you and Will, that much was obvious from what I’ve been hearing around here.” 

“She found a friend in Will and I found someone to take care of, she thrived until she didn’t.” He said simply. 

“What made her snap?” I asked. Dr. Lecter looked away for a second.

“‘We cared too much’, was her statement.” He shifted, “The knife was more pleasant than hearing her words I admit. Although she did not kill her family, she did help kill others; ate their meat, picked them out for her father.” 

“I have these daydreams, where I’m standing over them looking at what I’ve done. I used to be able to shift points of view in my daydream between me and my dad, but lately all I see is myself. I look down and I’m the one holding my brother down or I’m the one slicing my mother's eyes out for not seeing me.”

“Vivid daydreams.”

“Or vivid flashbacks.” 

Dr. Lecter didn’t respond, simply waited politely for me to collect my thoughts. He didn’t look disgusted or taken back, just curious. 

“Mackey and I will take each other down, that’s the only way to end this. I’ll dig my fingers under his skin again if that’s what it takes.” I looked down at the angry scars still on my skin from the fight, “I won’t let him get away next time.”

I moved my hand away from his as he went to pick up my paper cup. 

“Your haphephobia has damaged you in more ways than one.” 

“I was getting better with Jane. Now I’m not sure if I want anyone’s help anymore. I just want this to be over.” 

“You won’t seek another psychiatrist?” He looked surprised at that. 

“Dealing with this on my own is the only way through.” I explained, “Why would I drag more people in?”

“Well you’re speaking to me about it. Your self sacrifice for or others may have gotten you far in life, Katie. Unfortunately I believe it’s time to start taking things for yourself.”

“What like go on a shopping spree?” 

“If that’s the spree you would like.” He smiled slyly, “Do what you need to do for closure. The only one who can help you now, is yourself Katie.”

Yeah, that's what I was afraid of

 

—-

 

“This game is rigged.”

“Count the damn cards then.”

My cards came out to a perfect twenty one, the patient across from me groaned in frustration.  

“See? Not that hard.” I smiled, I pushed the bag of chips we had been betting with away from me and back to them. 

The schizophrenic patient gave a happy smile and grabbed it before walking off to the other activities outside. 

For once, Baltimore felt wonderful outside.

I was enjoying the sunlight and bees and flowers before cold and rain and the unbearable wetness hit again. I was also waiting on Chilton to give me back my clothes from evidence but he was just too busy. Of course he was. 

The patients who were calm enough were allowed to be outside for the day, orderlies and nurses were even taking advantage and had smiles on their faces. 

I had been released early in the morning, most of my internal injuries had healed quickly, everyone was just concerned about the damage to my eye. 

The crumpled and bloodied bandages had flaked off when the doctors peeled them away with tongs earlier. To feel the sun and wind on my eye again was...different. 

I could barely see out of it, weeks of being shut up inside the eyepatch with barely room to air out made it a little bit too sensitive now. I didn’t like it. I kept shutting the other to focus with the blurry one. 

Barry had said that it was a dull brown-grey color now, my nice rich brown was now nonexistent. The orderlies said it made me look mysterious. I took the new comments with a grain of salt. 

I lit a cigarette and watched the smoke blow out, I heard an orderly yell at me but I ignored it. 

“They’re lying to you.”

“Jesus fuck.”

I jumped as I heard Abigail’s voice. I felt cold fingers dip over the skin on my neck, twisting and scratching against my bones. 

A man stood in front of me, shimmering in the sunlight as if he was made from the sea. 

Black bullet holes riddled his chest as he glitched in front of me. 

He laid a hand on an invisible shoulder in front of him, for a moment I saw Abigail under his hand. The man, this dead man, watched his me softly and smiled. 

He wasn’t angry, I couldn’t sense anything about him. He was so calmhere. Watching. 

Do you see you now?”

This was the Shrike. 

“The dead leave residue in others. We make connections based on similar lives.” I spoke to her father, “Our strongest connections never fade.”

The Shrike stepped away, a look crossed his face. 

Blood is thicker than water .” He spoke, black liquid leaking out of his wounds. 

Garret Jacob Hobbs loved his daughter, the Shrike wanted to consume her. 

My father loved me, he had loved Reese as well. Now he was in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. 

The Shrike disappeared from my vision and the tension in my back snapped. 

They both were gone. But the feeling in the pit of my stomach wasn’t nice. 

You can’t escape who you are. 

I texted Jack before I could change my mind and before anyone else could stop me I was across the parking lot, my destination set to Wolf Trap. 

When I looked back to watch the hospital fade, my eyes caught on the reflection and I watched a grey eye judge me, dull and blank. 

I was a killer. 

I had done everything. 

And now Mackey was competing for me to follow him. I had a plan set out. 

 

—-

Will and his dogs welcomed me with open arms and wagging tails by the time I arrived at his place later that afternoon. 

There was a blissful hour of nothing on my mind as the dogs greeted me and slobbered over my clothes. Will and I ran with them around the yard, throwing sticks and hiding in the tall grass to watch them bounce. 

By the time the dogs were panting, Will and I collapsed on his porch smiling and laughing as a bottle of whiskey sat waiting for us on the steps. 

The air was so clear and bright out here, I closed my eyes and let the forest and woods around Will’s place sing me a soft lullaby. 

Will poured us a couple fingers before Winston came up and joined us. Nose sniffing and huffing in our ears before the dog poked me in my neck with a wet snort. 

“Do you remember that time you tried to kiss me?” I asked, Will stared for a moment before he broke out in laughter. 

“You slapped me!” He ran a hand through his hair, “College was an interesting time.”

“It’s the only good memories I have of my life.” I sipped the whiskey and raised the glass to him, “This is really good.”

“I took it from Hannibal’s house. He wasn’t using it.” 

“Hannibal, Hannibal. Careful Will, your bi is showing.” I grinned and he glared, “What? Off the record, I’d do him.”

“Yeah well, you used to think that Fassbender guy was attractive-“

“HE IS!”

“-so it doesn’t surprise me you think another European is hot.” He continued, “You know Hannibal is more than willing to help counsel you right? You won’t have to pay him, he wants to do this for you.”

“I know.” I took another drink. 

Dr. Lecter had texted me twice asking if I’d reconsider going back to therapy. And then a phone call from Jack, angry that Jane was no longer on the list and ‘What did you say to him’ as well as ‘You can’t get paid unless you get cleared by someone.’ He wasn’t happy when I had texted him saying that I was done with therapy all together. 

Good thing I ‘don’t fucking work for you alone, Jack.’ as I had happily put it to him. 

“He’s allowed to hope.” I replied as Will filled our cups again. 

The dogs barked and continued to play around the yard. 

“I’m sorry about Alana back then.” Will finally spoke softly. 

The sun shone and Will’s eyes sparkled like the sea he dragged Hannibal over with to get away from the Dragon. 

“I know that our love isn’t the same anymore. Obviously. But you did love her more than me, back then...”

“I’m not the same man I was when you left. Hell, I’m not the same man I was when you came back and I saw you in that cell even.” Will confessed, “I’m still unstable. I just have a better raft to float on.”

“Jane was my raft.” I watched Winston snore softly next to Will’s foot, “I’m quitting after this case. If Mackey doesn’t kill me first.”

“You’re leaving the FBI?” Will was surprised, “How long have you...Oh, you just didn’t want to tell me.”

“I didn’t think we’d be close again, honestly.” I sat up, “I’m tired of being hurt, of people getting hurt. I’m tired of seeing dead people and I’m tired of not having connections with people.” 

I flexed my fingers around the glass as Will watched the dogs happily. 

“There’s something I need to figure out on my own about what really happened when I was a kid. I know once I find out the entire truth, my whole world will crash down, Will. My reality isn’t going to be the same. I won’t .”

“Then we can be unstable together. We’d have each other.” Will offered. 

I reached out and laid my fingers over his on the wooden ground. 

Will was warm to the touch, soaking up the sunlight greedily. I could feel his heartbeat in the pads of his hand as he let me hold and entwine our fingers together. 

No pain. 

No stinging. 

No urge to claw, fight and scratch. 

Just warmth. Just Will. 

And Will was looking at me like he had just seen Atlantis himself. 

“I’d like that, Will.”

—-

 

The knife was heavy in my hand, Mom usually used it to chop through vegetables. 

I picked up the smaller one next to it, she used these ones to slice through oranges specifically. 

I heard her come downstairs, yelling my name as she dragged a suitcase behind her. 

The door was open and sunshine filtered through. I turned to find Reese waving at me from the couch, making faces and singing at the top of his voice. 

I was hurting, why were they laughing? 

They were sending me-

Cutting through flesh. 

Screams. 

The door slammed shut. 

I look up and my mother’s body falls and melts into the floor. Reese screams in my ear but I don’t care. 

I want to make them hurt for hurting me, for lying to me about my life. Who did they think they were! They lied!

They lied!

THEY LIED

 

I opened my eyes in an instant, jumping up ready to fight. The scream echoed around before I registered where I was: 

Wolf Trap, Virginia. I was curled up on the couch with two dogs. 

Will. 

A light turned on and I looked up as Will walked into the living room. He looked as tired as I felt. 

“You were yelling.” He offered a cup of coffee as I sat up, the dogs groaned and fell back in my spot sleepily. 

“Sorry.” I shook the images away, “Why are you up?”

Will held up his phone for me to read. One simple text from Jack. 

Tell her we found her missing heart. 

There was a location and I frowned. Missing heart? Who was missing a-

My sweet sixteen. The main girl. I looked up at Will. 

The Chesapeake Ripper. 



We got to the crime scene in good time, the team was already inside the apartment building. I followed Will closely, slipping on booties and gloves as he explained a small run down of the Ripper and who he was. 

It still didn’t prepare me for what I was going to see. 

The entire apartment was spotless, smelled new beneath the stench of decay. Officers walked out of the bedroom as Jack ordered the scene to be cleared. 

“Hey.” Zeller spotted us and waved me over to the kitchen where they were packing up evidence, “We found the heart.”

“So I’m told. You’re sure it’s from my case?” I asked, Zeller nodded and pushed the camera across to me. 

 “You getting any spooky reads on it?” 

He winked before I shoved the camera back and turned away to Will. Zeller huffed in annoyance but continued packing away. 

“Male is in his late thirties and female is in her twenties, we’re pulling ID now, they’re foreigners-“ Jack was telling Will as I ducked under the tape. 

“He’s not concerned with the people, it’s the story.” Will replied, “Katie?” 

In the bedroom stood a man and a woman, held up by wires in the ceiling. 

The woman was holding her heart out to him, shriveled and small and grey and the man was reaching out to take it, knees to the ground and everything. 

A reverse offering.  

Her entire rib cage was cracked open, like the bones themselves were reaching out to him out of her flesh. 

I walked forward, as close as I could get and circled the couple. Jack and Will watched me carefully. 

Naked meant purity right? Innocence. She was giving her heart to a man, broken and disgusting and shriveled but he was accepting it nonetheless.

The man's head had been split open but carefully put back together. There were only small lines of blood from where they had been cut into. So he was out of his mind in love with her. 

 Other than that, this one looked tame compared to Will’s old cases. 

“Where are you?” I whispered to them, looking around the room, “You’re somewhere here.”

I turned as the bathroom door creaked. I opened the door and stepped back almost immediately, the bathroom was stark white save for one thing.

A smiley face stared at me in the mirror. 

Drawn red in blood, still dripping down the wall. I didn’t look human in the mirror, two different eyes staring back. 

I didn’t look like myself.

“Katie.”  

Jane

Jane stood behind me in the mirror and I reacted, slamming myself against the counter to get away, my gloves slid against the tiles. He was close too close- 

He left me-

But it wasn’t Jane. It was Will, concerned and waiting for a reply. 

They’re lying to you. 

I stopped focusing on the living people in the room, my eye caught something as the dead woman’s scream echoed around me. Two things caught my eye actually. 

“There’s something in her mouth.” I flicked open my knife and walked forward, “What’s lodged in her ribcage?” 

Will’s hand grabbed my arm and yanked it down, the knife didn’t fall from my hands but Jack was staring at us like I was a mythical creature. 

“I’m okay.” I reassured Will, “What?” 

“You just zoned out for thirty seconds and now you’ve got a knife!”

“I thought you said people couldn’t touch you.” Jack demanded at the same time, “What the hell else aren’t you telling me Katherine?” 

On instinct I stepped away from Will and closer to the woman. I looked between them, unconcerned as the woman stayed still next to me. 

Jack put his hand on his hip, close to his gun. 

Whatever. 

“Katie!”

Jack reached for his gun but I wedged my knife in between the dead, pale lips of the woman and softly tugged her jaw open. 

Inside her mouth was a rolled up piece of paper. I pulled it out as Jack cussed up a storm and called Zeller to prep and evidence bag. 

I unfolded the picture, it was in good condition, an old portrait of-

Me. 

It was a picture of me. 

I was sitting in a hospital bed, wide eyed as a young teenager with claw marks and offensive wounds littering my body. 

On the bottom read my name and the date. 

On the back of the photo, in black sharpie, we’re the faded words ‘Evidence, Defendant Case #0156-

The rest had been smudged by blood. 

“Katie?” Will asked, I handed him the photo and stared at the bones poking from her skin, “How the hell...Jack, this is from evidence.”

“Evid-KATHERINE!”

I reached into the ribcage, dried organs and blood smearing on the gloves as I grabbed the object. 

Three objects from my case, this was no accident from the Ripper or the Butcher for that matter. 

“Oh my god.” Beverly was the first to speak as I pulled. 

A long kitchen knife gleamed impeccably clean as I took it out of her. 

But It wasn’t the knife or the shock that grounded me in the moment that I was holding a blade, no; I was holding a knife I knew I held before. 

 

My mother screamed as I drove the knife into her eye, she clawed and ripped my hair from my head as I pulled it out. Stupid fucking black knife, opal cut into the handle, it was stained orange now. The blood sprayed across me-

 

I dropped the knife and Will caught it before it clattered onto the floor. I backed against the wall, eyes never leaving the smiley face on the mirror in the corner. Jack stared back at me in the reflection. 

“It’s fucking true. The Ripper is actually helping me.” I whispered, nobody moved a muscle, “I’m a fucking killer.”

I felt like I had to pass out.  

“Clear the room.” Jack ordered, Will gave the knife to Zeller who stuck it into evidence, “Katie, I need you to calm down.” 

“Nobody fucking leaves this room.” I wiped sweat from my brow, my bloody glove left a smear across my skin, “Nobody’s leaving this fucking room.”

I was starting to panic, I could feel my body shaking. Shaking. My hands shook. My breath quickened. I was shaking so bad, fuck. 

“Katherine-“

“It’s true. Isn’t it?” 

“What is?” Jack crossed his arms and dared me to go on with his eyes. 

I cursed at him, not even sure it was in English as I held myself for a moment against the wall. 

Zeller and the rest of the forensics team were shocked still, watching with wide eyes as I started to shake. Nobody wanted to move to the door. Why would they when they have an unstable, psychic telling, freaked out disgusting one eyed freak in the room with them? 

“NOW!” Jack shouted, everyone left in a second with the door slamming shit against the tape. 

I could barely breathe. I hadn’t planned on doing this here, but the fucking heart and photo and that fucking knife .

“I did it. I killed my mom and Reese. And you kept it a fucking secret.” 

I looked at him and the room felt lighter, I felt like I was floating above him. 

Jack said nothing. Just stared at me in anger, jaw clenching and eyes narrowing. The tension in the air was thick, the backup cops in the room were watching me closely. I slid against the wall, away from the dead and away from the living. 

“I found the file, I found the fucking blacked out file in Chilton’s office. Why is it your signature is all over them? Why do they say confidential!?” I rubbed my eyes, I could hear a faint buzzing surrounding me. 

Voices and whispers filled my head as invisible hands and fingers tugged at my nerves and rolled them between their fingertips. 

“How did you get ahold of that file?” Jack’s eyes widened but he didn’t look guilty. 

Jack stepped forward. 

I stepped back, hand going back to my switchblade. Jack reacted the same, hand going back to his gun as the cops around us drew theirs. I didn’t care, I could feel a lump in my throat begin. 

I fucking did it. 

I fucking killed them. 

Jack stared at me. 

They’re lying to you. 

“Abigail Hobbs’ dead fucking ghost showed me.” I answered, “Her body is hidden on the grounds of the hospital.”

“Abigail- how the HELL DO YOU KNOW-“

“I SEE DEAD PEOPLE JACK!” I screamed, the anger in me boiled and I felt my face catch fire, “BECAUSE OF YOU. I FUCKING SEE THEM.” 

“Don’t you dare-“

“Do you not see this!?” I pointed to the puppets in the room, I gestured to the heart, “He’s showing me the truth!”

“What happened when you were a kid isn’t your fault, Katherine.”

He was speaking to me as if I was still a child. 

Because I was. 

I had been the one….

“You’ve lied to me my entire life.” I whispered, “You kept the truth from me even when I asked you not to hurt me.”

“Jane was right, I should have never come back.”

“You have a murder to solve, Katie.” Jack said, he didn’t even sound sorry, “Don’t forget about the job you wanted to be in on.” 

The door opened before I could reply, Will stood there with his eyes wide. I could spot the entire forensics team in the hall, ears pressed to the walls trying to listen. 

“There’s been an incident at the hospital, Jack. Katie, your father got attacked.” Will spoke, “He was stabbed.”

The world snapped and I let my hand fall from my weapon, I looked back to the dead puppets. 

She had given her heart to him, it wasn’t a reverse offering. The Ripper was on my side, he wanted to help. He wanted me to kill, to offer something of myself to him. 

And now that I understood who I was…could I become the killer Mackey and him saw?

 

—-

 

BALTIMORE STATE HOSPITAL- Prison ward 

 

My father looked ill, white as a sheet with bags under his eyes. I watched the blood transfusion earlier, had given some myself to help, but now all I could see was an imminent death. 

I sat next to him in the hospital, watching his chest rise and fall unevenly as Jack and Chilton argued in his office. 

“He looks like Hannibal when Abigail got to him.” Will was saying behind me, “I felt so guilty for what happened. He took the knife for me and he’s wearing the scar.”

“Everyone’s wearing everyone else’s scars these days it seems.” I replied. “I’m trying not to count the blood spots on his chest. All I’m seeing is death.”

“What were you arguing about with Jack? We heard him through the doors.” Will asked.

 I didn’t reply. 

“Katie, if something’s happened that-“ 

“Nothing’s happened. Jack and I don’t see eye to eye as usual.” I interrupted, “He was stabbed seven times from an inmate he never was in contact with.” 

“Hate crimes-“

“It was Mackey.”

Will didn’t make a sound, we stayed in silence listening to my father fight for his life through the machines. 

“How?” Will gave in. 

“I bet the inmate was new, has Mackey as the psychiatrist.”

“Mackey’s been silent since he almost killed you.”

“And now he wants me to know that I’m still under his thumb.” I muttered, “He’s mad that I may be under someone else’s game now.”

But he doesn’t know what I know now. 

“The Ripper?” 

“The Butcher, not the Ripper. The Ripper may have helped me but something tells me he’s not motivated through his usual methods.” I saw my dad’s lip twitch under the oxygen tube, “Two against one against one.” 

Will moved forward, I could hear his footsteps until I felt him behind me. There was a pressure on my shoulder, Will’s fingers tightened around me. 

No pain. 

I didn’t want to pull away. 

He brushed the hair off my shoulders as I stared at my dying father, I could smell the dogs on his shirt. 

“What are you going to do about it then?” 

A question I hadn’t asked myself completely. But the answer I had, I’ve had for a very long time. 

Jack walked in with Dr. Lecter and Dr. Parish, the same doctor who had treated me earlier. Will kept his hand on my shoulder for a moment longer, I didn’t look to see Jack’s reaction to it again. 

“It seems we’re getting the whole family in for checkups this year.” Dr. Parish joked, “Your father is going to be here for a while, Ms. Morrison. His condition-“

“I want the file on the inmate who stabbed him.” I stood up, “Mackey did this.”

“Mackey-“

“It’s possible.” Dr. Lecter interrupted and everyone looked at him, “He took a break, allowed Katie to recover. If we’re correct in assuming he’s in love with her, it makes sense.” 

“Why go after her father then, Dr.Lecter?” Jack questioned. 

I turned them out as I watched Dr. Parish check my dad’s vitals and mark them down on a chart. 

“He’s not going to make it.” I said to him, “He won’t make it outside of this hospital bed.”

“Ms. Morrison-“

“I need to know.” I stepped closer and he stepped back, “Tell me.”

Dr. Parish looked behind me to the men arguing amongst themselves. His eyes flicked back and forth between me and Jack. Ah, so that was the problem. 

“He has a forty five percent chance of survival off these machines. His wounds went deep, severed ligaments and-“

“Thank you.” I nodded and turned around, “Everyone get the fuck out of this room now.”

The three men stared at me, Dr. Parish was the one who walked by and out of the room. 

They’re lying to you

 

I couldn’t fucking handle it anymore. 

 

—-

 

I was pacing back and forth in my office, I had been pacing back and forth in this fucking office for an hour. 

My dad had flatlined earlier in the day, they had revived them but I couldn’t be there anymore. I couldn’t watch him die, I couldn’t let him die thinking I still blamed him. 

The door was locked, nobody had come by throughout the past five hours to check on me. Hannibal and Will were MIA and Jack was dogging my new phone. It was off, in the trash can for now until I could think rationally. 

I looked back to my board of murder, lines and photos covered every inch. 

Mackey was a therapist, he had access to everything. He was a con artist and had done this before. He wasn’t new to murder. He knew Baltimore well enough to operate freely. 

Mackey knew me intimately, either my whole life or part of it. 

Mackey was also deeply in love with me, he didn’t want to hurt me. 

I picked up the artist sketch of Mackey that he had attempted from my dad. He was a good looking guy, chiseled jaw and what looked to be bright blue eyes. Short, dark cropped hair and a thin smile. 

The smile reminded me of Jane when he wasn’t happy but needed to be happy. 

Jane. 

Jane who loved me, Jane who left me because I got hurt. It was Jane who had been with me through my whole unboxing of repressed memories and feelings. 

Jane, who had been with me since the beginning, essentially. 

Jane. 

It had to be Jane. 

I sat down heavy in my seat, I stared at the sketch before me. It couldn’t be. 

Now you know.” 

I looked up as my mother, dead as the day she was carted away, she stood glowing before me. 

“I did everything. I did that to you.” 

She glitched, red falling in rivers down her face before she faded into nothing. Just a shimmer of dust in the air. I could feel her nails scratching down my arms. 

She had fought back, tried to throw me off and kill me herself after she had walked in on me murdering my brother. 

Why would Jack keep it a secret? Because we had been family friends maybe but...a killer was still a killer with or without the gene. 

I was still a killer. Jane was Mackey. 

Mackey has attacked me and the next day Jane left. He had been sorry…

Do what you need to do for closure. 

Dr. Lecter’s sly smile blossomed behind my eyes, I could feel inky black goo seep from my old wounds and fill me up with fire. 

What are you going to do about it then? 

Will’s question haunted my mind. I put Jane’s sketch down on my desk and took my phone out of the trash. 

If Jane wanted a game, I was going to give him a game. 

 

Chapter Text

The water was pooling around me, ice cold. 

The tips of my fingers were beginning to lose feeling, like the rest of my body. 

My body shivered and ached in all the wrong places, the bruises on the insides of my thighs burned and stretched with each shiver. 

I wiped my nose, tears and snot mixing with the water as it ran over my soaked clothes. 

At least the blood had stopped leaking a while ago. 

What the hell had I done? 

I closed my eyes as I began to hear a faint pounding on my door. 

A gun sat next to me on the lid of the tub, I didn’t know if I had any more bullets left. 

I waited. 

 

—-

 

Two days earlier 

 

“You’re kidding me.” 

I stared at Jack in disbelief as he pushed a piece of paper towards me. 

“I’m unable to keep you on payroll if you go to Lecter for therapy. The Board assigned you Jane because of the progress you made with him.” Jack bit out, “It wasn’t up to me. If I could, I’d assign you Lecter.”

“JANE LEFT!” I shouted, “He gave me a fucking referral.”

“He’s open to seeing you again to see the case through, Katie. That’s what you wanted isn’t it?” Jack looked up from his desk, annoyed. 

We hadn’t been on good terms since my missing heart was found and now I was being brought in with Will on the Butcher and Ripper crimes. 

He was pissed I had been given seniority over him on some of the terms. Serves him fucking right. 

“You have an appointment tonight at the range for your gun, Jane will meet you there. Take this out on him.” Jack then looked at me carefully, “You’re on thin ice with the board as it is.”

“Unless I go forward with my accusations against you.” 

“Excuse me?”

Jack stood up, towering over me. I stood my ground as he watched me. 

“I know the truth. I may go to jail for the rest of my life but so will you.” I threatened, “Stay the fuck out of my way, Crawford.”

I stormed out of the room, papers in hand. Jack didn’t follow me for once, I was grateful. 

When I stepped outside I stopped being grateful. 

“I got your text, I’m surprised you had my number.” 

Freddie Lounds was casually smoking near the parking lot, dressed down in muted colors for once. 

“Get in the damn car.” I ordered, she followed me immediately across the lot. 

Once inside, I let out a slow breath as Lounds finished the cigarette and flicked it away from the car. 

“So, you said you had a story for me?” 

“First you’re going to help me break into somewhere. Anything you snoop on you can smack into your website.” I started the car and pointed us towards Baltimore, “Did you do what I asked?”

“Took the taxi here after I dropped my car off.” Lounds rolled her eyes and watched me closely, “Does Crawford know about this?”

“Does Jack know I’m going behind his back? No. Fuck Crawford at the moment.” I handed her a lock pick kit, “It’s a simple lock but it needs to be done quick, the alarm will go off after ten seconds, I need to be in the room in five to stop the alarm. Psychiatrists never lock their doors well enough.”

“You want me to do the dirty work on Lecter?” Freddie’s green eyes went wide, “Woah, now-“

“Not Hannibal. Jane. Patrick Jane, my psychiatrist.”

“Oh, that hunk of-“

“Don’t finish that sentence.” I snapped, Freddie was smug in her seat for twenty minutes as we flew down the road. 

My hands were sweaty, I could barely breathe right. 

“Why him?” She finally asked, her nails tapping on her knee, “What’s he got to do with your case?”

“Yeah, thanks for slamming my murders everywhere by the way. I have a hunch on the killer, I need it on the front page if I’m right.”

“I’m doing the dirty work and you take all the credit.” Freddie groaned, “Why are you being civil with me? Giving me this break when I’ve done shit to you and printed-”

“I need the killer to know once I have some solid shit against him. I need fucking evidence.” I looked at her as we pulled off the freeway, “I hate saying it but you always get shit done, I need the killer’s complete attention right now.”

“Oh my god, you’re baiting yourself. And I thought Graham was crazy.” She laughed, “So you really just need a witness to this B and E.”

“I need someone who can hold their own if something goes down.”

“As long as I get a story. Can I ask questions?” 

“Limited questions.” I agreed. 

I answers Freddie’s probing questions, most weren’t that bad until she asked who I thought the killer was. Telling her my hunch was Jane would be too straightforward, I needed her in the dark about him so it wouldn’t draw too much attention. 

By the time we pulled around to Jane’s office, the entire street was empty. 

It hadn’t taken long to dig into Jane’s legal files and pull up his real schedule. He was off today, I had an officer even tail him to an event a few hours ago and as of twenty minutes ago, he was still there. 

He wasn’t due to be back in this room for a few more hours to get ready to meet me back at Quantico to sign off on my gun. 

I pulled into the alley, grabbing a black sweater and throwing it on as Lounds traded in her heavy jacket too. 

She made quick work of the lock in the back and before she could take her picks out I had punched in the code in Jane’s waiting room. 

We locked the door behind us. 

Freddie’s flashlight was helpful as we broke into Jane’s office, she turned in a slow circle as the light moved over garish pieces of art strewn oddly about the room. 

“Damn. And I thought Lecter was rich and weird.”

“Hannibal’s nothing like Jane.” I defended, Freddie put her hands up and continued being lookout as I closed my eyes. 

When I inhaled I smelled something amazing, I let myself drift for one second...

 

“I haven’t had food like this in forever.” I smiled as I bit into whatever fancy dish Dr. Lecter had prepared, “You must spoil Will a lot with this stuff.”

“He consistently downplays my work, reducing my efforts into simple ‘chicken noodle soup’ or ‘chicken nuggets’.”

“He said Jack called him?”

“More separate work from the Butcher I’m afraid,” Dr. lecter sat down next to me at the head of the table, “I understand one on one interactions are hard for you.”

“Not anymore. They were.”

“You’ve come a long way since we first met only a month or so ago. You’ve let Will touch you, I hear.”

“Not like that!” I jumped in my seat and Dr. Lecter smiled minutely, “Dr. Lecter-“

“Hannibal. I’m no longer a practicing doctor.” He waved away my concern, “Perhaps this will be a night to get to know each other more as you know Will so fondly.”

“I’m not good at heart to hearts. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be good at anymore.” I picked up my glass of champagne, “But you entertain rude guests often I suppose, I guess I’m doing okay.”

“You’re referring to me hosting Alana Bloom and Margot frequently. Will doesn’t like Ms. Verger as well, for other reasons.”

“I didn’t mean-“

“Yes, you did. If there’s one thing I know about you is that you don’t lie. Will told me your first impression of me, I was offended and flattered all the same. You and him have a unique way of looking at people.” 

I didn’t respond, just ate the food in front of me for a moment. Hannibal talked about Will a little bit more before I finally zeroed in on him. 

“How long have you two been together then? My gaydar has never been accurate.”

“...a year and a half.” Hannibal cleared his throat after a moment, “Will prefers to not let it be known publicly yet.”

Hannibal was obviously hurt by that. I laughed to myself. 

“It’s nice time have someone, even if it takes a while to come around. I’m sure Will will start thinking rationally.”

“I mean, we haven’t made it public since you came back into his life. We were going to, I was going to take him to the opera where he’d have no choice but to be on the front paper.” Hannibal smiled to himself, “But once he saw you, we stopped.”

“I don’t...I’m sorry I’m not following.” I set my fork down, confused, “Will and I love each other but...not like…”

“Nor would I want to share the love William and I have. No, the love for you that Will has is something akin to what we had for Abigail.”

“...you’re going to adopt me?” 

Hannibal laughed at that and even I felt the uncomfortable tick in my spine relax. 

“No. We’ve decided that there is no life for Will if he can’t love who he wants.”

“You’d allow him to cheat on you with me.” I asked skeptically, Hannibal said nothing. 

“I allow Will a great many things, the brat.” He muttered, “We want you safe from Mackey, for the moment all Will and I can offer you is a place to be yourself. To be who you need to be to heal.”

“You have no idea who I am, Hannibal Lecter.” 

We stared at each other over the food, Hannibal smiled again and the smile reached his eyes in a dark twinkle. 

“I think you’ll find I know more than you expect. How is Jane by the way?”

“Why?” I snapped, “I don’t know.”

“What aren’t you telling me, Katie?” Hannibal studied me and I felt guilty. 

I’ve kept Will and him out of the loop for so long with how I felt about Jane I forgot they were the ones I had talked about him since Will came back into my life. 

By the time I had finished the dinner and my alcohol, I had spilled all of my worries to Hannibal. All of my fears and my suspicions. 

“So Jane was gaslighting you away from Will and I, I’m genuinely hurt to hear this. As much as we differed in our therapy, we were always able to understand one another to a certain extent.”

“It’s just not like him. Why manipulate me now? Why not when I first started with him? IF it is him.”

“If you’d like to investigate Will or me, my home is open to you.”

I looked to the kitchen doors, I remembered being here the first time and hearing the dead screams from the basement. But Jane had been here, it was death surrounding Jane. 

“It’s just a hunch, Hannibal.” The table was cool against my palms, Hannibal reached across and gently brushed his fingers over the scars on my skin. 

“A hunch is all we need.”

 

I opened my eyes, only a second had passed. Hannibal’s words echoed. I just needed a hunch, I just needed one damn thing. 

“Freddie.” 

Freddie came over and unlocked Jane’s desk,  I rifled through the first drawer to find nothing but old notes and torn papers. She snapped photos of papers I laid out, getting all angles of them as I started on the next drawer. 

“What are you looking for exactly? Isn’t he your therapist, where trust is key?” 

“He may be connected to the real Mackey through a patient or a referral of some kind.” I half lied to her, “And he’s not mine. Not anymore at least.” 

“Another one of Crawford’s guard dogs gets off its leash, great.” Freddie muttered, “Hey, that looks new.”

I looked up from my spot on the floor to where she was shining her light, in the corner of the room was a tall wardrobe that yes, looked incredibly new. 

“Definitely wasn’t here before.” I got up and we opened it to find a box, “You know how to crack it open?”

A sleek black safe rested in the middle, inviting us to break it open. 

Freddie slid out a small device in answer and I stepped back to the desk again, usually he kept his recent files in here. I used to watch his every move when I first started coming here, I knew my file would be in the front. 

Bingo. 

I took out the recent files, mine had been shoved to the front again no doubt from me needing more late signatures. I flipped through the others, marking them down as basic threats to themselves but not what I was wanting. 

I needed a file on my dad, that was my only hunch. If he had my dads file then Jane was one hundred percent my guy no doubt. 

“Freddie?” I turned back to the redhead who shushed me, we only had a limited amount of time. 

Look. 

See?

I stood up abruptly at the voice next to my ear, the young girl from the sweet sixteen party stood behind me, flickering in and out of the light of the closet. 

“What? Is he back?” Freddie asked, eyes wide as I stared, “What!?”

“Shut up.” 

I kicked the drawer closed and walked to her, she vanished as I flicked the light on and stared at extra suits and clothes and some boxes stuffed into the corners. 

On the floor lay a giant white bag, zipped up. There was a black body bag next to it. 

The light zapped and the body bag was gone, the white one remained. 

It smelled like bleach. 

It smelled like decay. 

It smelled like the containers where the people had all died. 

“GOT IT!” Freddie whispered and I walked out of the closet and back to her. 

She pride open the safe and snapped pictures before I reached in. 

I pulled out two heavy files. 

Both marked from Quantico’s evidence locker. 

I opened it up and Freddie gasped. Pictures of my crime scene burst out, she took some from me and looked them over, camera forgotten next to her hip for once. 

The pictures were gruesome, things I had in my nightmares anyways. 

“Oh my god…” 

“There’s a photo missing.” I searched through the numbers and compared them as we set everything on Jane’s desk. 

“How do you know?” 

I pulled out the photo that had been lodged in the Butcher-Ripper’s kill for me. It fit right into the theme of death and decay, the number also matched up. 

“Holy shit.”

There was a bang outside and we jumped. Freddie ran to the window as I took her camera and hurriedly took more photos of the files. 

I opened the second black folder and noticed my father’s name along with his recent hospital vitals...like this morning, recent. 

“He’s here! Jane’s back.” Freddie all but screeched. 

There was a moment of complete silence between us before we raced and shoved everything away. I slammed the safe shut as Freddie freaked out and righted everything on the desk.. 

Jane was here. 

But Freddie couldn’t be here. 

“Wait for my cue.”

I grabbed the redhead and shoved the camera in her hands. 

“Take these to Will first, or even Hannibal. After that, post them to your site, I don’t care. Just make sure Will sees them first.” 

I shoved Freddie into the closet and turned around, dashing to Jane’s desk and slamming everything shut. 

Fuck. 

The locks!

I jumped to the window as I heard the click of the other lock in the lobby. 

“Oh...Katie...you’re in my office…somehow...”

I turned to Jane as he walked in, stunned to see me. 

I kept a side eye on the closet as it creaked open and a small camera shutter was seen. Jane was watching me carefully, he looked startled andas off guard as I felt. 

My heart was racing and my anxiety was making my legs numb. 

“Jack said I had to see you again. Figured I’d beat you to it, looks like I was right.” I shrugged and turned away to the window again. 

“I didn’t know I left my door unlocked.” Jane moved around, setting his things down. 

“The alleyway was unlocked, I was smoking outside for a bit.” I lied. 

“Well, then what can I do for you?” 

I turned and Jane was sitting at his desk, my heart skipped a beat but it didn’t seem like he noticed the drawers being messed with yet. He was smiling pleasantly. 

This was Mackey. 

I had to remind myself that this man pummeled me until my eye fucked up. 

I blinked. 

“I miss you.”

Jane frowned for a split second before folding his hands on his desk. I saw Freddie’s flash go off behind him under the door. 

“Katie...I had to let you go for-“

“Personal reasons, I know.” I interrupted, fuck I was really doing this, “I haven’t been sleeping since...I can’t talk to Will or Hannibal about anything anymore. It’s too hard, I feel disgusted with myself.”

Jane stood up and moved from his desk as I sat down in one of his chairs, he looked genuinely concerned. I sniffled and bit the inside of my lip hard, tears formed and I hastily wiped them away. 

Jane reached out and I stopped moving for a second. 

I could feel the energy off of his hand as he rested it close to where my arm was, this was the closest I had ever willingly given him. I held in the actual sting of fear as he inched closer. 

I had to do this. I had to convince him I needed him and get Freddie the hell out of here. 

I shook my head, trying to feign sadness again. 

“Jane I’m so...I’m so sorry for how I treated you. I...I shouldn’t have put Will or anyone before you I’m so sorry.” I struggled through a fake lump in my throat, “God, Jane...Hannibal-he and Will they...they fucking said so much shit about you and I didn’t even...“

“Hey, hey Katie. Katie please don’t cry.” Jane comforted softly, he reached over and poured water into a cup for me. I saw Freddie inch her way out of the closet and duck under the chair in the back, “Katie none of this is your fault please. I did this because I overstepped a line and hurt you.”

You fucking tried to murder me. 

I sipped the water and Jane took it back to break a small packet into it that he had in the drawers. Electrolytes aren’t what I needed damnit. They tasted like medicine as I drank the rest of the cup. 

Freddie’s camera clicked against the wall and Jane’s head tilted towards the noise. 

Fuck it. All or nothing. 

I grabbed Jane’s hand and his body snapped back to me immediately. 

“Please tell me you’re not behind all of this, Jane. Hannibal kept saying that you were behind this. That it’s you who’s really Mackey.” I pleaded, Jane’s eyes couldn’t leave our hands, “Tell me Hannibal and Will are wrong.”

“Hannibal fucking Lecter. Of course.” Jane shook his head, he flipped our hands and tugged me up from the chair, “Tell me what you’ve been hearing, Katie.”

“All of the victims, Jane. From Reese to the sixteen year old girl. They’re always surrounding me wherever I go. Even Abigail Hobbs...I see Mackey everywhere I go and...and I’m not sure, because I think…”

“Think what, Katie?” Jane pressed, his grip around my wrists was beginning to hurt. 

Freddie was picking the back door lock. 

She just needed a few more seconds.

“I think he’s the only one who understands what I went through as a kid...Jane, Jane I was the one who killed them all.”

Click.

Jane’s head snapped up and I reached for him, pulling him down into a kiss. 

Jane seemed to melt under my hands for a second, he pulled me closer against his chest and then as quick as I had kissed him, I had no control. He was rough has he kissed me, as if I would snap and break apart any second under his hands. It was like he wanted me to break under him.

When he pulled back I felt lightheaded...too lightheaded. We stared at each other and Jane was beaming, he brushed something off my cheek. 

“My love for you, sweetheart, isn’t as twisted as what Hannibal and that fucking boy make it seem.”

“Jane I...I don’t...I need to sit down.” I muttered, Jane set me down against the chair again and I reached for a glass of water. 

My nerves felt empty, I felt hollow all of a sudden. So empty. I felt high. There was no water in the cup, I shakily set it aside. 

“Lecter needs to know his fucking place though, you’re not a puppet, sweetheart. I’m here for you, I’m all you need.” Jane walked to his desk. 

I leaned forward and breathed in deep, something was wrong. 

I looked over at Jane who was staring down at something near his desk, I slid my phone out of my pocket as it buzzed. A text from Freddie.

GET OUT OF THERE. 

She sent a photo next and I balked. The white bag I had seen. Bloodied clothes lay strewn in it, Freddie must have made it out finally. 

Jane was in front of me suddenly, twisting a loose paper clip between his fingers. He plucked my phone from my hand easily, I frowned. It was hard to not let him do things to me now. It felt like I was swaying in my chair, my whole body felt muted. 

He turned the paper clip in his fingers. 

“Katie...what in the world have you been up to?”

Jane was beautiful, blonde sandy hair and ocean eyes. 

Jane wasn’t who he said he was he-

He was warm, stroking his hand on my cheek. I leaned into it lazily. 

No-

Jane’s face swam in front of me and I...no, not his face. I was seeing others too, the victims. They were screaming behind his skin, locked in his eyes as he had slaughtered them. 

“Jane...Jane...what did you…”

There was a knock at the door, loud and insistent. Jane left me on the seat and answered it quickly, I almost cried in relief. 

“Ms. Lounds?” Jane was surprised as Freddie appeared at the door. 

She looked scared, her eyes were wide as they bounced between Jane and then to me, slumped over on the couch. She held up her phone as Jane took a step towards her. 

“Jack Crawford sent me to get her. There’s been...something.”

“Freddie!” I coughed, Jane’s eyes flickered between us for a moment, “I think my...medication…”

“Yeah, that’s why Crawford called my ass. I’ve been interviewing downtown.” Freddie came in and helped me up, her hands thin and shaking as she gripped me through my sweater.

“Stay calm.” I whispered. She was shaking. 

“Medication?” Jane was dumbfounded as Freddie ushered me past him, my vision was beginning to go, “Ms. Lounds-“

“SORRY! Gotta go! FBI orders!” 

Freddie kicked the door shut behind us as we struggled into the alleyway, Jane disappeared from view and my body relaxed. 

Or maybe that was whatever drug he had given me in the drink. 

Freddie threw me in my backseat and dug the keys from my pocket hastily, talking at a million miles a minute but I couldn’t focus. Her voice flowed over me like ocean waves

I closed my eyes and threw an arm over my face, I felt so sick. 

There was a loud thump from outside and I heard my trunk being slammed shut before the car beeped and Freddie slid back in. She didn’t say anything to me as the car pulled out and sunshine filtered through the windows. 

“Freddie?”

She didn’t reply, just gently shushed me. I could feel myself start to get sleepy. 

“It’s Jane, it’s always been Jane.”

The gravel rolled beneath us as we pulled onto the road. I fell asleep. 

 

—-

 

“FREDDIE!” 

I screamed and shot out of my bed.

I wasn’t in my bed. I was...I was…I looked down at myself, I wasn’t on the fainting couch. 

I was on Will’s beat up couch in Wolf Trap. The dogs were looking at me, annoyed I had woken them up. I shook my head and felt the world move on around me again. I could hear birds outside, I could smell the forest through the open cracked doors. 

I looked at the dogs and then at a bright post it on the table. 

You need to call me. 

Where the hell is your car?

-Will

I smiled and tossed the note to the side. 

Fuck. 

Freddie.

I searched through the couch and then the floor for my phone. 

Nothing. 

I stumbled off the couch and through the mess of dogs and the suitcases and boxes I had shoved in Will’s house. 

No phone. 

I grabbed the landline and rang my number, dead. Well fucking hell. I dialed Freddie’s number and got her voicemail. 

What the hell had happened yesterday? I left her a message and threw on new clothes, downing a glass of water-

Jane. 

His office. 

I spit the water out into the sink reflexively, it dropped down the white sink and faded away. 

Jane drugged me. 

Freddie had all the evidence against Jane now. 

I dialed Jack’s number who picked up on the third ring. 

“JACK!” 

“Jesus Christ, Katie-“

“IT’S JANE!” I yelled and one of the dogs barked, making me jump, “Sorry, sorry. It’s Jane, Jane is Mackey. Freddie and I broke into his office yesterday and found files-“

“Whoa whoa whoa, slow down Katie. I need you to repeat that for me you’re breaking up, where are you?” 

“Wolf Trap. At Will’s place-“

“Katie! Katie? Look I’m at Quantico going over your file and-”

“JANE! IT’S JANE, JACK-“

The phone beeped and cut out. I cursed and ran around grabbing my shoes as the dogs slumped into my spot on the couch. I ran outside and locked the door only to come face to face with no other car in the driveway. Fuck.

 Where the hell was my car, could Freddie still have it?  I stayed there in the middle of the driveway for a moment before I remembered the shed in the back of the lot. 

Will told me he had an old bike back there last week. 

I raced across the wet grass and mud and kicked open the side doors. 

I coughed as soon as I entered, old sawdust and dirt and god knows what else kicked up around me. Old machinery hung from the rotted ceiling and three freezers hummed along the side of the wooden barn. 

Jesus Will, at least bleed Hannibal out of some money to redecorate this shit. 

I coughed my way through the hanging tarps and pulled an old brown one off of an old black dirt bike. 

It’ll have to do for now. 

I grabbed the helmet and walked the bike outside, thankfully the wheels looked fine. 

It looked like a nice bike too, a little dusted but overall in good condition. 

It was actually in perfect condition, a rare Triumph. Definitely a European purchase. 

Of course it was Hannibal’s, Will didn’t even know what Tesla’s were...he probably did now. 

 

By the time the old Triumph had pulled through into the Quantico campus, I had several people pointing in awe. By the time I shoved it away from me in the parking lot and tossed my helmet to security I was ready to sell the attention hog myself. 

I raced through the building with my badge being thrown in people’s faces as I shouted for Jack. 

By the time I reached his office I was out of breath and on fire. 

Until I saw who was in his office. 

Jane sat tall and proud, holding papers in his hands as he and Jack laughed about something. 

Behind them the victims of my case smiled back at me. They smiled back and me and screamed in terror as Jane filled up the room with his energy. 

Dark energy.  

“What the hell is going on?” I demanded, out of breath, “Why the hell aren’t you in fucking chains!”

“Katie?” Jane feigned confusion as I stood in the doorway, “What’s going on?” 

“It’s you! You’re the killer! He’s Mackey, Jack arrest him!” I shouted, I pointed at Jane and Jack held up his hands, “Arrest him or I’ll kick his fucking brains out.”

“We do not threaten and accuse our friends, Katherine!“ jack scoldedin disbelief as he looked to Jane, “Maybe your therapy last night went a little too far, Doctor.”

What. 

FUCKING WHAT. 

“He drugged me last night!” 

“Drugged? Katie, you came to me for our final session, I put you under using-“

“THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED!” I shouted back, why wasn’t anyone believing me!?

“KATHERINE MORRISON.” Jack demanded, he stood up and I shrank back against the wall, “You will respect me in my own damn office, is that understood!?”

“Jack, he-“

“You signed on the papers Katie.” Jane handed me the papers he had and I ripped them away from him. 

On the sheets were Jane’s and my signature saying it was okay to put me under for our last session. 

I was floored.

That never...This wasn’t right.

“This isn’t legal. This never happened, I was never with you last night, I never signed anything.” I threw the papers down at my feet, “He’s lying, Jack!” 

“Then what were you doing last night, Katie?” Jack asked. 

Jack was looking at me like I had grown horns and a forked tail, I felt so small and helpless in front of these men. 

“I was...I was in Jane’s office but I wasn’t there when he was! I was, I mean I met him there but-“

“Maybe I should go.” Jane whispered, “I can get someone from below to get her and-“

“Freddie Lounds!” 

Jane stopped moving. 

“Freddie Lounds was with me last night, where is she, Jane?” I moved to the door in an attempt to stop his escape too. 

“Freddie Lounds is in New York covering another murder. We’ve been keeping an eye on her since her photos have reached the news about your case.” Jack frowned, “How bad are these side effects-hallucinations, Doctor?” 

“She has such an overactive imagination it may be hard to tell. I can monitor her at my office if you think she’s a liability at work today.” Jane offered. 

“There’s a safe in his office that had my dad’s files and mine. All the missing things he has! Why aren’t you -“

“Katie you need to calm down.” Jack walked around his desk as I began to hyperventilate, “Just breathe in and exhale-“

“Don’t tell me how to breathe, asshole!” 

Jane moved towards me to put a hand on my shoulders, I shoved the chair between us with a kick. 

“Katherine!” 

“Jack, call security-Katie- Katie!” 

I ran. 

I ran out of his room and I turned the corner and slammed into the fire exit. The door slammed shut and I looked up and down the stairs. 

No one. 

I held my breath and waited for the door to open. I waited for Jane to come through and push me over the edge.

I closed my eyes and gripped the railing, I had to breathe. I had to focus. Just breathe. Just focus. 

The door opened behind me and I whipped around, pocket knife out and ready for-

Oh. 

Alana. 

“Katie?” 

I was getting real tired of people saying my name. Except this ‘people’ was just Alana, and Alana was looking at me like I was going to kill her. 

I put the pocket knife back away as she let the heavy door close behind her. 

“I saw you run here and thought you were in trouble so I-“

I could help it, I burst out crying and Alana was stunned when I fell into her arms and cried into her shoulder. After a moment, she wound her arms around me and held me close. 

I was crying in Alana’s arms in the fire escape as if my life depended on it. 

I heard commotion outside the doors but we didn’t move as Alana let me cry. 

She was smoothing my hair over my head, comforting me like a big sister. 

“What is it?” Alana pulled back once I had calmed down, her hands cupped my face, “What did Jack do now? That insufferable-he did the same damn thing with Will I swear to God if he...ugh!” 

“Alana...I can't be here anymore.” I choked, “I can’t be here at all.”

Alana nodded to herself and soon we were jogging down the stairs and out into the sunlight of the campus. I followed Alana through the back ways used mainly by the cleaners and noticed we were going towards the private parking lot. 

We crossed the lot quickly, I watched as a slick black Mercedes beeped and a woman in a suit stepped out gracefully, shades hid most of her face but I recognized the red lips. She smiled upon seeing Alana and then frowned as I got closer. 

Margot Verger. 

“What’s going on?” Margot started walking towards us as Alana dug in her purse for her phone, “What happened to you?” 

“She needs to get out of here.” Alana held her phone up to her ear, “Now, Margot.”

“She looks like she needs a damn drink.” Margot eyed me, I looked away. 

“No.” Alana shook her head, “No, she needs Hannibal.”

I slid into the backseat of the Mercedes and Margot got in, Alana was already talking to someone over the phone as I pulled my-Will’s old flannel-around me. 

We didn’t pull out the way I always came, instead Margot took a back way where the security barely spared her a glance. Something told me Margot was more than she seemed. 

The car ride was silent, I kept quiet in the back. 

I couldn’t believe Jack wouldn’t listen to me. I hadn’t been the nicest to him sure, but to take Jane’s side over me?

I moaned internally, how long had Jane been planning this again? God, no wonder why Jack always loved him; Jane probably sunk his claws into him long before I made it known that I knew Jack as well. 

When we reached Hannibal’s mansion I was thrumming with anger and violent energy again. 

Hannibal opened the doors as we walked up and Will shot out behind him. 

“Katie.”

Will was a breath of fresh air as he crushed me into a hug. There was a laugh not far off and then Alana was next to us. 

“I’ve got to run, stay here and Margot and I will be back tonight for dinner.” She gave a look to Will before climbing in with Margot and pulling away. 

“Inside.” Will pulled me and Hannibal shut the doors with a click and a turn of a heavy lock behind us. 

Will pulled me to the living room and I collapsed on the couch, letting him wrap a blanket around me. Hannibal set tea down in front of us, I looked at the water skeptically. 

“What happened?” 

They sat patiently. 

“Jane is Mackey...you were right all along. I was right about my past, I killed my parents. Jack wouldn’t listen to me, Jane drugged me and I think Freddie Lounds is dead.” 

Their faces didn’t move, didn’t even look surprised. Hannibal though, looked disappointed as if I was meant to be happy about all of this. 

“We’ve suspected Jane for a while.” Hannibal spoke first, “When he lived here years ago similar crimes happened, none as advanced as what he’s done to you but women would get obsessed and he would kill them. I had my suspicions back then even, but I was working on building a reputation.” 

“It was a big jump, we weren’t certain.” Will added in. 

“The Butcher and the Ripper know who he really is, they knew by the second kill. I wonder if they know that I’m up to speed on everything.” I joked, “I don’t know if Jack is looking for me. I ran out of the building when they were calling security on me.”

“Then you need to disappear.” Hannibal announced, I looked up as he left the room but continued talking in the next, “I heard Italy is lovely this time of year.”

“I can’t leave.” I stood up and tossed the blanket off of me as he walked in with a box, “I’m not leaving until I take care of Jane.”

“Kill Jane you mean.” Will nodded and Hannibal studied me, “You want to kill him now? You’re sure that’s a plan you can actually go through with?”

“I’m not letting him get to me again. I either take him out or the FBI does and right now, something tells me Jane has Jack deeper in his pocket than even you two do.”

Hannibal set the box down carefully on the table, face focused on concentration before straightening up. 

“What are you going to do about it then?”

Self-sacrifice is still sacrifice. 

“Murder is bad.” I hesitated and Will chuckled under his breath for a moment, “I know killing is wrong.”

“And if we kill the right person for the right reasons?” Hannibal questioned, “Will shot Garret Hobbs to death, all for the right reasons.”

“To save Abigail.” Will smiled softly at a memory behind his mind. 

“Jane’s going to hurt you two, I can’t let that happen.” I reached out and Will met my wandering hand, holding it tightly in his own, “I won’t.”

“You need a plan to catch Jane.” Hannibal advised, “A plan that won’t go wrong.” 

“I need to find Freddie first. She took pictures of everything and if there’s one thing I know, Freddie’s shit gets backed up to all of her things.” I saw Will nod and then pull out a sleek iPad, “She was with me when we broke into Jane’s office yesterday.”

“Wait, you broke in? Why didn’t you tell me!?” Will looked up and Hannibal left to the kitchen. 

“She was supposed to find you and give you everything, we got trapped in Jane’s office and I had...I had to…” I trailed off as images of blurry hands and blurry faces came up, “Jane...he kissed me. We kissed and he drugged me, I think he knew...he said I was Hannibal’s puppet?” 

“He kissed you?” 

“I had to get Freddie out it was the only thing I could think of to do.” I shook my head like I could erase the taste of Jane on my lips, “I guess he attacked Freddie when she dragged me outside. I was so out of it…”

Will knelt before me on the ground, iPad forgotten by his feet. Staring into his eyes was like looking at the ocean from the sky. I could see the shimmering of lights in the mountains of his iris. 

I could feel his strange, wonderful empathy. I could see myself in his eyes and I understood him better. Will knew exactly what I was feeling, he knew exactly what I was saying. I felt real tears, real fucking tears, gather in my eyes and fall down my cheeks. 

“I’ll never leave you, not anymore. Hannibal and I will always be here for you, we’ve always looked out for you.” 

“I have to kill him, Will. I have to kill someone again.” I closed my eyes and rested my forehead against his, “Will...I…”

“It’s the ugliest thing in the world, killing someone. Until it’s not. It breaks you free, hurting someone who hurt other people. When I saved Abigail, when I saw that she was okay and her father was dead in the ground, my whole world changed.” Will whispered, he cradled me to him against the seat, pulling me closer into his space, “Hannibal helped me, he changed the way I saw that ugly place in myself. Hurting Jane will save so many people, hurting him will bring you peace.” 

“And what I did as a kid?” I managed to choke out in soft cries, “It’s in my blood, Will.”

“Doesn’t matter now. You’re a part of Hannibal and me, you’ll be safe with us.” 

“Jack Crawford is on his way, I suggest we keep you somewhere safe from him.” Hannibal announced as he walked in, phone in hand, “I’ve cancelled dinner with Alana, the further we keep her and Margot away the better.” 

It was odd, I kept thinking, as Will led me upstairs to his and Hannibal’s room. They seemed so ready for me to come to them and confess what had happened, Will and Hannibal took everything with grace and ease. It was difficult remembering the awkward, tall twenty-year old in that dusty college dorm. 

Will locked the door behind him and I laid down on the soft bed, my head hurt.

 I just wanted to sleep. 

 

 

HANNIBAL and WILL

 

“This is going faster than expected.” Will remarked as he jogged down the stairs and into the kitchen, Hannibal hummed in agreement, “Jane must have fucked her up worse than we thought.”

“His psychic driving was a jumbled mess when he began working on the women here, it doesn’t surprise me he hasn’t perfected it.”

“It’s chaotic.” Will agreed, they were wiping down the cabinet and island from an earlier excursion with a pig, “She’s a mess inside her head again.”

“She is everything we hoped for, William.” Hanibal kissed his husband's cheek and rested his chin on the younger man’s shoulder, “She came to us of her own freewill. That’s what we wanted for her.”

“...We need to find Freddie Lounds.” 

“...I’ll entertain Jack and his questions, go and find Jane. He’ll be going to Freddie to finish the job later no doubt, he has a cabin not far from where she lived near the woods. Swing by your place, grab the supplies from your shed again, we may need them if she can’t handle him.”

“Jane’s going to Wolf Trap.” Will’s head snapped up, his dogs coming to mind, “Everyone knows she was staying at my old place-“

“Alana and Margot are retrieving them now, they’ll take care of the dogs until we’re through with this mess.” Hannibal shook his worry off and kissed him again, “Go. It won’t take Crawford long to arrive.”

“Don’t kill him.” Will ducked out the back door and Hannibal didn’t move from his spot in the kitchen until he saw their back up car exit his driveway. 

Hannibal finally looked up at the ceiling, imagining Katie assleep in their bed already. Jack wouldn’t dare snoop around his house again, but if he was coming here directly then that meant he knew Katie would come to them or Jack was hoping for some clarification. 

It turned out to be neither. 

Jack had strode in, casual as ever with no trace of irritation. Hannibal offered him coffee and Jack accepted, talking about the new evidence they pulled out of a lake for another case. 

Hannibal offered his insight to the new case and answered simple questions but under his skin his nerves were burning alive. 

It was like feeding the men who later slaughtered his sister. An act of kindness to be taken too far. 

“Why are you here, Jack? You called and said it was important.” Hannibal interrupted the aging man and for once, Jack looked ashamed. 

“I’m afraid I’ve put one of my officers in a life or death situation.” He conceded, “I haven’t been honest either, I’m afraid she’s become a loose cannon.”

“You’re speaking about Katherine.” Hannibal managed to sound polite, Jack nodded, “What are you implying, Jack?”

“There’s an APB out for Katie’s arrest. I have reason to believe that she has been conducting these murders in an effort to get back at me for a secret. One that I’ve held from her and the public for years.” 

Hannibal paused dramatically before taking a sip of the coffee. Jack was anxious, sweat was forming at the collar of his shirt already. 

Jane has gotten to Jack then, Hannibal briefly wondered how many people Jane had managed to plant a corrupting seed into. 

“This is having to do with the first case, when you pulled her from her father’s arms as he tried to kill her? He was an officer as well, you two had been on the force together.”

“It wasn’t her dad all those years ago, it was her. I walked in to take her to the camp they had signed her up for, but when I got in…. she had knocked him out, ready to stab him in the throat. Reese and her mother were long dead. I grabbed her and took her outside, he asked later on to charge himself and went away to prison.”

“A story she has relayed to me, although her father was more adamant she did it as time went by.”

“He was terrified of her. She was a scary kid, after that happened it was like a switch went off. She got quiet, docile even.” Jack was staring hard down at the liquid, “I’m afraid she’s snapped somewhere and found out and is using this against me. After I failed to catch the Ripper last year-“

“Hardly your fault Jack, he took up an apprentice to throw you off.” Hannibal faked the comfort but Jack looked happier at the lie, “We can’t expect you to spread yourself over several countries, you’re only human.”

She’s only human.” Jack slammed his fist down, “Ever since Bella passed...I just need a win for once.”

“A win? This is a young woman’s life we’re discussing. If anything, Patrick Jane-“

“Jane can’t get near her anymore. She’s been accusing him of everything! Just an hour ago she was screaming in my office demanding I arrest him! He’s got alibis that we checked. She admitted to breaking into his office-“

“Did she?” 

Jack stuttered. 

“I don’t know. They had an appointment last night to finish her signatures but she had asked for a session instead.” 

“And Jane told you this?” Hannibal moved around the kitchen and Jack raised a suspicious brow at him, “What kind of session?” 

“What are you implying, Doctor?” 

“I don’t trust Patrick Jane, he’s been accused of more things than I have been in my lifetime here.” Hannibal cheekily smiled, “Is her father under Alana’s care now as the Head?” 

“Yes. Chilton runs the employees now due to his...accidents this past few months.” Jack glared for a moment, “Are you implying Jane is after her father too?” 

“You have Will and I working on the Butcher and the Ripper non stop these days, I’m implying nothing.”

“We’re no closer to the two killers now than we were last year.” Jack was growing impatient. Hannibal conceded. 

“What is the nature of your visit, Jack?”

“She’s not wanted by the FBI, I can’t do that to her...I know she’s going to be scared though, and I know she’s going to contact you or get in touch with Will. You call me if she does.” 

“Of course.” Hannibal nodded and followed Jack to the front door, “You may have a harder time convincing Will to do the same, unfortunately.” 

He closed the door in Jack’s infuriated face. 

Will and her will take care of Jane, he had no doubt. 

It was time he took care of dear Uncle Jack once and for all like he should have done when the man came into his kitchen throwing punches and blood last year.  

Hannibal walked back up the stairs and unlocked the Master door, inside he found Katie peacefully passed out on top the gold sheets. 

He sat down next to her, she barely stirred as she chewed her lip in anxious worry even in sleep. 

A lonely soul, she had more promise than Abigail had. She was family before Hannibal was family to Will. It seemed fitting. 

The three of them, it had a proper ring to it. 

 

Later that evening when Will had arrived back with a bag of supplies and new locations, they had found her in the shower with ice cold water flooding her senses.

She had been catatonic, the shock from everything finally catching up to her body. She hadn’t even noticed when Hannibal had switched the water to heat, she didn’t even seem to feel it.  

Will had coaxed the gun away from her and helped her into dry clothes as Hannibal set up the basement to accommodate Jane and his flamboyance. 

She was thrumming with new energy.